Raise/Raze at the Dupont Underground

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Detail of Raise/Raze, the winning project proposal for the Dupont Underground’s installation contest. Photo: Lauren Griffin

Walking down the steps past a metal door with a padlock to view Phillips partner Dupont Underground‘s first art installation, Raise/Razefeels a bit delinquent. It was hard to temper my excitement at being in a space which at first glance, appears be forbidden. The tunnels still hold trolley tracks and street signs. There are artifacts of the years the space sat abandoned, including graffiti and dripping water. The original designs for the installation included covering the walls completely in a uniform white, but I appreciate seeing these reminders of the tunnel’s past. They underscore the perfect, manufactured luminescence of the re-purposed balls. The effect is the appearance of a pixelated, digital growth in an organic space. I overheard more than one comparison to Minecraft.

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Installation view of Raise/Raze. Photo: Amy Wike

More so than other submitted designs, Hou de Sousa‘s proposal truly transforms the material. In their original installation in The Beach, the balls were a mass that one could sink into and be surrounded by. They moved as a liquid, moving force. Here, in Raise/Raze, the balls function as a solid mass, capable of sustaining form and inspiring manipulation. Hou de Sousa takes the balls from a material that must be swum through and struggled against into a material to work with constructively.

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Installation view of Raise/Raze. Photo: Lauren Griffin

I also appreciate how there are pre-constructed areas to explore and create additions to. It can be difficult to be presented with a blank slate, and by providing three pre-made areas that include a maze, open space with constructed boulders, and stalactite towers, the space gives just enough structure for creative exploration. I look forward to seeing what each wave of visitors comes up with each day, and to see them documented on social media.

Lauren Griffin, Contemporary Curatorial Intern

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Installation view of Raise/Raze. Photo: Amy Wike

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Installation view of Raise/Raze. Photo: Lauren Griffin

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Installation view of Raise/Raze. Photo: Lauren Griffin

Installing Acts of Silence

Of her installation at the Phillips, Acts of Silence, and how it speaks to the work by Morris Graves on view in the same galleries, Helen Frederick says: “Much of this came from traveling to California, where for the first time I saw the redwoods; and just the evolution of the plant life and the bird life, and those great massive trees and the shadows cast by the trees . . . the muffled sounds from the ocean . . . [these] allow me to understand why Morris Graves found this environment where he wanted to be for the last years of his life.”

Behind the Scenes of the 2013 Staff Show

In addition to the Van Gogh Repetitions exhibition, Phillips preparators have been busy this month installing for the annual Staff Show.

Phillips preparators install works of art for the staff show and adjust lighting.

(Left) A Phillips preparator measures and hangs artwork. (Right) Lights are adjusted to highlight a piece.

The 2013 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show will be on view September 23, 2013 through October 20, 2013. The show features artwork from Phillips Collection staff. Please join us for the opening reception on October 10, 2013 from 5-8pm.

Emily Bray, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator

A Phillips preparator installs the title wall of the staff show.

Vinyl is installed as the finishing touch.