Art in the City: Brooklyn Badlands

04/26/2006 12:00 AM |

f : t architecture : Model Space

Black & White Gallery, 483 Driggs Ave, Williamsburg

For the next few months, the courtyard of the Black & White Gallery will hold a gleaming white architectural confection. Built by the artist-curator-architects Peter Franck and Kathleen Triem of f : t architecture, the construction is a large-scale model of a house they’re building in Saugerties, New York. Working models are not normally sensational, but by blowing one up to 1: 4 scale and embedding it in a concrete backyard in Williamsburg, Franck and Triem have created something novel. Surrounded by clusters of aluminum rods representing trees, the minimalist form soars above a landscape of stacked white polystyrene. The combination of materials — I-beams, foam, Plexiglas — is strange, but the structure appears light and elegant nonetheless. The house is generically stylish, fusing Pierre Koenig with Zaha Hadid, but in miniature it becomes a symbol of escape, purity, and the endless allure of modernism.

Simon Faithfull: Ice Blink
Parker’s Box, 193 Grand St, Brooklyn

Before we even get to his art, Simon Faithfull deserves props for his sheer physical hardiness. He undertook a residency at a lonely British research station in Antarctica to make videos and Palm Pilot drawings of the desolate landscape. The Palm Pilot drawings are amazingly dexterous considering the medium — one captures the intricacies of the research station, another the gentle outline of a friend’s face. The videos range from jolty cinema verité footage of barking seals to clear, minimal shots from a fixed camera. In the latter category is 44, which records the view through a ship’s porthole as it slowly passes ice cliffs.  Similarly, Falling looks over the bow of a vessel as it plows through icy water, driving dark cracks into the white surface. All of the work is quiet and subdued, reveling in the severe beauty of the landscape.