Friday, November 16, 2007

Avalanche at Harvard

Under the rubric "Fighting Institutionalized Formalism through
Ephemerality:" Harvard Graduate School of Design papers wall
with all thirteen issues of
Avalanche. Screens show video views
of Joseph Beuys, Vito Acconci and Chris Burden by
my former partner Willoughby Sharp.

10 am
Fung Wah bus to Boston South Side, almost as excruciating as bus ride from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik. 2:15pm Red T Line to Harvard Square. Through Johnson Gate, meander diagonally across Harvard Yard, past fully parked bicycle racks, scissor walking students crisscrossing between red brick bldgs, oak and maple leaves suspended in mid-air, twirling down to still green lawns. 3:30pm Pick up key to place on Beacon Hill where I'm staying tonight from Faculty Club concierge. Find Club lockers for 25 cents but only in Men's Room. 4pm Check Avalanche wall paper exhibit studded with a triptych of Willoughby's early video views on 8 ft by 10ft wall outside Piper Auditorium at bottom of Quincy Street. Embedded in this display of all pages of all issues of Avalanche is a statement of purpose by intrepid curator Michael Meredith,
Fighting Against Institutionalized Formalism through Ephemerality explaining relevance of exhibit to architecture students, but let me double check that, am not too familiar with such weighty terminology, which certainly isn't in the spirit of Avalanche 4:10 pm Take elevator to Architecture department on second floor to say hello to Andrea, coordinator of guest visits, but Andrea is at a leadership training workshop. 4:17pm Take elevator back to ground floor and check e-mails at front desk of Frances Loeb library. Email from KC at publisher's says she will answer any questions directed to marketing ("the untouchables," as per production manager) so I rephrase my request--to remove an item from publisher's cover design--in such a way that hopefully she will understand the context in which it is being made, ie this context , appropriate design and my past history in the art world and in publishing, which so far has counted for zilch for said publisher 4:45pm Leave the GSD and head back up Prescott Street to Faculty Club, this time to change for the evening, and stuff another locker with backpack (repaired for the occasion) and well worn leather hiking boots (not repaired but anointed with mink oil).
5:15pm Return to GSD. Willoughby has arrived, thanks me for coming, the technicians are setting up for the power point presentation, and Toshiko Mori the chair of the architecture department says hello and introduces guests to each other. The auditorium has a capacity of about 350 very hard seats, but the back half is sealed off by moveable partitions on castors. I don't take a seat (enough hard seats for one day) but stand by one of the giant pillars.
Students munching convex whole wheat sandwiches are drifting in in twos and threes and the front of the auditorium is filling up; the left half of the front wall is occupied by a video screen showing a simultaneous live projection of W's show "Retrospection" at the Clyfford Gallery, Colgate University. Possibly an homage to Keith Sonnier's NY-LA gallery interactive interconnect in early 70s, possibly not. Make mental note to ask. W himself is busy snapping photos of audience members possibly with a black Lumix camera. 6pm people are still streaming in; Toshiko says we await some VIPs, among them MIT Press editor and the curator of the AVA exhibit, whom she calls on her cell phone.

No comments: