The Function of Time: The Contemporary Art Museum

This is the second in a series of research based studios devoted to the spatial and temporal implications that contemporary art provokes for a museum today. In an effort to address different contemporary issues, artists have in the last two decades embraced different subject matters, scales and media, resulting in an unprecedented range of artwork that has broken outside the white cube of Modern Museum Design. To be a platform for contemporary art, the art museum needs to embody spatial diversity and it needs to accommodate continuous change. The Function of Time in a contemporary art museum addresses specifically the problem of unpredictability that is inherent in the condition of contemporary art.

Today, countless museums exist, built before or during the early part of 20th century that house great collections of modern art. In the coming years, these museums will need to find ways to expand and adapt their current structures to accommodate contemporary art exhibitions. This studio will focus on the Function of Time within such an existing art museum, approaching the need for flexibility and spatial variety.
Much of contemporary art has emerged as a response to the museum building or the museum as an institution, such as Carsten Höller’s “Soma, 2010”, Urs Fischer’s “You, 2003”, Chu Yun’s “Constellation, 2006”or Grego Schneider’s “Totes Haus u r, 2001”. Building upon these responses, this studio will investigate what could be a series of spatial forms- such as a shed, a house, a chapel, a lab, a garden, etc- that could provide different contexts in a museum, thus fulfilling the diverse spatial needs of contemporary art. These spatial forms will act as the brief for the expansion of the existing museum.

Drawing from writings and conversations on contemporary art with Hans Ulrich Obrist, as well as other leading curators, the studio will first produce a group survey of exhibitions before developing individual design projects for the expansion and revision of an existing art museum. As a primarily digital studio, students are required to be competent in a parametric program such as Grasshopper.
Please note: The studio meets twice weekly. Farshid Moussavi will not be present at all course meetings. Jonathan Scelsa will be the instructor for the course in Professor Moussavi’s absence.