The group exhibit After Victor Papanek: The Future Is Not What It Used To Be, honoring the late American designer Victor Papanek (1923-1998), is on view at Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena until Sept. 6. Curated by alumnus Jeff Cain (Art MFA 05), the exhibition features a number of works by CalArtians.
Papanek was a former dean of the CalArts School of Design—now part of the School of Art—and was a pioneering influence on sustainable, socially responsible and human-centered design. His book Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change, published in 1971, remains one of the most widely read books in the field of design.
The Armory exhibit gathers works that used Papanek's plans as prompts, turning them into fully realized contemporary pieces, while other works are seen as a parallel to Papanek's oeuvre.
From a press release:
Papanek did not believe in patents, feeling they stymied innovation by preventing designers from building on other meaningful design innovations that could make a positive impact on society. This exhibition asserts Papanek’s legacy as a galvanizing force in contemporary visual art and social practice, particularly in providing a critical framework for an object-oriented social practice.
Papanek's socially conscious art practice is made present by the contemporary CalArts artists in the exhibit. Olga Koumoundouros' (Art MFA 01) work, a hammock for herself and her nine-year-old son, reflects on single parenthood.
CamLab, a collaboration between Jemima Wyman (Art MFA 07) and Anna Mayer (Art MFA 07), ponders the concepts of engagement and exclusivity through the sculpture Inside-Outside Table, a custom-made surface in two parts for public and private workshops.
Critical Studies faculty Ken Ehrlich (Integrated Media MFA 99), along with architect and activist Mathias Heyden, will conduct a series of meetings with Armory staff members to develop a project in response to the needs of and directly for the Armory and its programs.
Rounding out the list of artists in After Victor Papanek: The Future Is Not What It Used To Be are Dave Hullfish Bailey, Liz Nurenburg, Michael Parker, Robby Herbst and Rafa Esparza.
After Victor Papanek: The Future Is Not What It Used To Be
May 10 through Sept. 6
Armory Center for the Arts
145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena