Assistant Professor of Architecture Nora Wendl Publishes "Contemporary Art about Architecture: A Strange Utility"
Author: Karen O'Donnell Stein
Posted: July 3, 2013

Nora Wendl, Portland State University Assistant Professor of Architecture, and colleague Isabelle Loring Wallace, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Georgia, Athens, recently published Contemporary Art about Architecture: A Strange Utility (Ashgate, 2013). Concentrated on works made since 1990, Contemporary Art About Architecture: A Strange Utility is the first to take up this topic in a sustained and explicit manner and the first to advance the idea that contemporary art functions as a form of architectural history, theory and analysis. 

Over the course of fourteen essays by both emerging and established scholars, this volume examines a diverse group of artists in conjunction with the vernacular, canonical and fantastical structures engaged by their work. Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Matthew Barney, Monika Sosnowska, Pipo Nguyen-duy and Paul Pfeiffer are among those considered, as are the compelling questions of architecture’s relationship to photography, the evolving legacy of Mies van der Rohe, the notion of an architectural unconscious and the provocative concepts of the unbuilt and the unbuildable. Through a rigorous investigation of these issues, Contemporary Art About Architecture calls attention to the fact that art is now a vital form of architectural discourse. Indeed, this phenomenon is both pervasive and, in its individual incarnations, compelling—a reason to think again about the entangled histories of architecture and art. Contributors include established and emerging architects, architectural historians, artists and art historians: Jasmine Benyamin, Rebecca Brantley, Matt Burgermaster, Paula Carabell, Beatriz Colomina, Jae Emerling, Jennifer Johung, Miwon Kwon, Spyros Papapetros, Levente Polyak, Martin Soberg, Isabelle Loring Wallace, Nora Wendl, and Jakub Zdebik.