Van Alen Institute / Pratt Manhattan Gallery
December 8, 2006 – February 17, 2007
The exhibition in New York sought to introduce the topic of shrinking cities to the US public. After the flood disaster in New Orleans, the developmental problems of older US cities, which often result from processes of shrinking, were at least temporarily part of the public debate again. As a center of political, cultural, and urbanistic discourse, New York was a strategically suitable site to expand this debate from New Orleans to other cities and to enrich it with the results of the project Shrinking Cities.
For the presentation of the exhibition, the Pratt Manhattan Gallery collaborated with the Van Alen Institute, which is within walking distance. The Pratt Manhattan Gallery is the public gallery of the Pratt Institute, one of the biggest and best-reputed private art colleges in the United States. The Van Alen Institute is a nonprofit institution, founded in 1884 (named the Society Beaux-Arts until 1996) that fosters the new urban discourse by means of an extensive program of exhibitions, competitions, publications, and workshops and that mediates among specialists, politics, and the general public.
Van Alen Institute hosted part one of the exhibition, "Shrinking Cities, International Research", which examined the phenomenon of urban decline. The four focus cities were explored and represented in diverse forms of documentation by artists, architects, filmmakers, journalists, and researchers. Themes included a worldwide study of shrinking cities, the change of urban landscapes, everyday practices, and political conflicts under the conditions of urban decline. Pratt Manhattan Gallery hosted part two of the exhibition, "Shrinking Cities, Interventions", which presented strategies for action. It was divided into five areas: Negotiating Inequality, Self-Governance, Creating Images, Organizing Retreat, and Occupying Space. Commissioned projects ranged from artisticinterventions and self-empowerment strategies through architectural, landscape, media and performance interventions, to new legal regulations and utopian visions.
Together with the organizers and in collaboration with the Center for Architecture of the AIA New York Chapter, an extensive accompanying program was developed: in and with the Center for Architecture, the project office staged a three-part film series titled “Shrinking Cities – Interventions” and a panel discussion on the topic “Negotiating Inequality”, with the participation of Neil Smith and Peter Marcuse. The VAI initiated a discussion on the theme “The Bronx: Shrinking?” with the Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. and Michael Sorkin. The Pratt Institute organized a symposium titled “Is New Orleans a Shrinking City? A Confrontation between Ecology and Politics.”
1,650 visitors, mostly specialists, came to the exhibitions and the accompanying program.
Chief curator: Philipp Oswalt; Co-curator for the follow-up-show in New York City: William Menking, Professor of Architecture, Pratt Institute; Assistant Curator: Anke Hagemann.
Teams /// INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH: GERMANY /// Nikolaus Brade, Laura Horelli, Konrad Knebel, Ines Lasch, Project Office Philipp Oswalt (Anke Hagemann, Tim Rieniets, et al.), Albrecht Schäfer, Christoph Schäfer, Kathrin Wildner, NETHERLANDS /// Bas Princen, RUSSIA /// Sergei Bratkov, Alexei Kononenko, Savva and Sergei Miturich, Vera Samorodova, Alexander Sverdlov, Boris Spiridonov, UNITED STATES /// Robert Anderson, Mitch Cope, Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC), Jody Huellmantel, Toni Moceri, Kelly Parker, UNITED KINGDOM /// John Davies, Jeremy Deller.
INTERVENTIONS: AUSTRIA /// fiedler.tornquist, Isa Rosenberger, FRANCE /// Pierre Huyghe, GERMANY /// complizen Planungsbüro, Markus Bader and Jan Liesegang (raumlabor_berlin) with Anne-Claire Deville, Oswald Mathias Ungers, Ingo Vetter, GE RMANY/NETHERLANDS /// Project group Claiming Land (Stefanie Bremer, Dirk E. Haas, Päivi Kataikko, Henrik Sander, Andreas Schulze Bäing, Boris Sieverts) with Bas Princen, NETHERLANDS /// OMA/AMO, UNITED STATES /// Center for Urban Pedagogy (Damon Rich, Rosten Woo) and Interboro (Tobias Armborst, Daniel D'Oca, Georgeen Theodore, Christine Williams), Tammy Lynn Evans, Tyree Guyton, UNITED KINGDOM /// Project group COW-the udder way (Gareth Morris, Heidi Rustgaard, Eike Sindlinger, Ulrike Steven, Susanne Thomas), Cedric Price.