The Architecture of Memory (2018)

Studio Cannaregio
Venice, Italy

Presented concurrent with the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale  in partnership with the American Pavillion organized by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. 

To view the exhibition brochure, click here

Conceived as a complement to the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, The Architecture of Memory showcased Crown’s artwork in the context of architecture,  adding a distinctive, independent voice to the “Freespace” theme of the festival.

The 2,200-square-foot project was curated by Peter Doroshenko, former executive director of Dallas Contemporary. Major works by Crown were installed in Studio Cannaregio, an exhibition space in the oldest part of Venice — a city whose historic beauty, perhaps even its very existence, seem threatened by climate change. As an active environmentalist, Crown imbues every mark she makes with wit and intrigue, as well as a strong social conscience. In the context of Venice’s spectacular, yet fragile, infrastructure, her multifaceted works were most relevant. They were chosen to underscore the basic critical building blocks, such as signs and indexes, of contemporary sculpture and architecture. 

In this iteration of SOLO TOGETHER (2017), the crushed red plastic cups that seemed to be strewn at random across the floor were, in fact, carefully placed with as much intention as a choreographer staging a ballet. Issues of personal and collective interactions, sustainability, and environmental carelessness all resonated with viewers. 

The movement of metal in CHAIN MESH (2018), a video projected in an adjacent gallery space, evoked the rippling waves of water in the Venice canals or dust stirred up by the wind. The sound and rhythm of the undulating metal is hypnotic; its minimalism was a stark counterpoint to the disorder and unpredictability of SOLO TOGETHER.

A monumental sculpture, CHALICE (2018) is a continuation of Crown’s exploration of the impact of human mark-making. The 7-foot work is an enormous variation on the Solo cup, rendered in gold. The grand scale and form of this gleaming vessel are intended to provoke questions of value, worth, myth, ceremony, and consumption. Its proportions summon thoughts of religious symbols, such as the Holy Chalice of Christianity, and play on themes of reverence and the human impulse to seek higher meaning. Gazing up at this monolith, a viewer might ask,  “What do I believe in?” 

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