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February 1, 2004

Adam Kalkin with Jim Isermann, Martin Kersels, Aernout Mik, Tobias Rehberger, and
Haim Steinbach

February 7 – March 27, 2004
18 Wooster Street,
New York City

Suburban House Kit is a full-scale suburban environment created by Adam Kalkin, with Jim Isermann, Martin Kersels, Aernout Mik, Tobias Rehberger, and Haim Steinbach. It includes a pre-fabricated steel house, an origami garden, a backyard, a driveway, a car and all the other amenities associated with suburban living. Suburban House Kit examines the American utopian vision from the point of view of an international group of architects and artists who are freely ambivalent about the financial and social structures that have shaped the American dream. It treats art, architecture and commerce as an uninterrupted cultural continuum carefully evolved through Darwinian processes which promote the survival of a species at the expense of its individual members. Since the members are expected to express themselves through their consumer choices, they will be able to buy all or part of the Suburban House Kit assisted by an on-site sales and finance specialist who will help carefully craft a personalized vision from a menu of modularized desires.

Adam Kalkin, architect and artist, uses his work as a purgative to clear his mind of unwanted psychological detritus. His houses embody the paradoxes and ambivalence that are more often the domain of the art object than of the domestic environment. By appropriating the lexicon of the found object, Kalkin introduces an emotional ambiguity into an area of architecture that has long conformed to a limited set of effects. Neither conventional notions of comfort nor specific usage is encoded in his materials or spaces. His buildings possess a layered interiority: found and reused structures create inner sanctums that recall childhood fortifications. The palatial volumes enclosed by his houses, together with the complex visual and visceral experiences they offer, make one feel that the spaces in which we live can themselves be transformative.

Carpet for the house has been created by Jim Isermann, whose work has been at the forefront of contemporary art’s cross-fertilization with design. Over the past 25 years his diverse bodies of work have chronicled the conflation of post war industrial design and fine art through popular culture. Most recently Isermann has concentrated on site specific projects, such as a five pendant, thirty-five foot high chandelier with carpet tile and furniture installed in April 2003 at the University of California, San Francisco.

A lone ball blowing in the wind in the backyard is a kinetic sculpture by Martin Kersels. Kersels is known for his conceptual combo of performance and sculpture. His sculpture of a house in the form of a giant shoe is currently on view at Mass MoCA.

Aernout Mik’s acclaimed video-sculpture Pulverous will be projected from the house’s second floor window. Mik combines elements of video, sculpture, and performance in what he calls “setting in motion the motorics of a specific situation, involving the spectators’ reactions as physically and emotionally as possible”.

A unique origami garden has been created by Tobias Rehberger for the front yard. Rehberger is known for his works that redefine garden sculpture.

The pantry of the house contains an exhibit of bathroom fixtures arranged by Haim Steinbach. Steinbach, an influential exponent of art with already existing objects states, "the object is ephemeral. Its position shifts from place to place. It is contingent on its context for its meaning, whether public or private." Other works by Steinbach will be on view in February at Sonnabend, GBE (Modern) and Gorney, Bravin and Lee.

Adam Kalkin won the P/A Young Architects Award in 1990. Since then, he has continued his interdisciplinary work in art, architecture, music, technology, and commerce and he has published and exhibited his work throughout the world. His most recent book is Architecture and Hygiene published by Batsford.


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