Countryside, The Future Opens at the Guggenheim


Countryside, The Future, the large exhibition now on show on the Guggenheim, is a sprawling show that winds from the underside of the museum all the way in which to the highest. It’s not precisely an artwork exhibit—it’s extra artwork exhibit as treatise. It’s been organized in collaboration with famed architect Rem Koolhaas and Samir Bantal, the director of AMO, the suppose tank of the workplace of Metropolitan Structure. Koolhaas, after all, is a giant identify, and a giant identify that’s largely related to city areas. (Though his buildings in New York are few.) Having spent a lot of his working life concentrating on the town, he now appears to have “found” the nation; the present is posited as considerably of an epiphany that appears as if it could, in some ways, be decreased to 1 sentence: industrialization has destroyed the countryside.

countryside the future guggenheim

Laurian Ghinitoiu, courtesy AMO.

The exhibit really begins outdoors the museum, the place tomatoes develop in a big container beneath LED lights. There’s additionally a big tractor. (It’s unlikely that the tractor has something to do with the tomatoes.) They’re extra the equal of clickbait: inviting the viewer to say, ”Okay, I’ll chew. What’s occurring right here?” The reality is…it is not fully clear. Upon getting into the museum, viewers will discover that the underside flooring of the constructing is roofed in cutouts. A big bale of hay hangs suspended from overhead; an underwater drone is paired with a duplicate of a Roman sculpture of a fisherman. They’re actually visually arresting, and it’s at all times attention-grabbing to see the Guggenheim in its entirety used for an set up. However what precisely is happening?

countryside the future guggenheim

Set up View: Countryside, The Future. Picture: David Heald. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Basis.

To say the present is textual content heavy is an understatement; it’s virtually nothing however textual content (okay, and loads of photographs) swirling their manner up the museum’s rotunda. In a nutshell, the present makes an attempt to have a look at what has occurred to the countryside; there aren’t any spoiler alerts right here, though local weather change and international warning are introduced as one thing of a revelation, when a lot of it isn’t a lot of a shock in any respect. A few of the pockets of data are fascinating—textual content on off-the grid communities, as an illustration, is actually attention-grabbing—however to what avail?


countryside the future guggenheim installation view

Set up View: Countryside, The Future. Picture: David Heald. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Basis.

Koolhaas refers back to the countryside as “an ignored realm,” though who has ignored it’s a little unclear. Some textual content focuses on leisure time within the countryside, and the way the unique makes use of have reworked into one thing else—villages in China into resorts; villages into spas in Italy. Different sections present the affect of politics on rural areas, from a prototype of a 19th century commune to a more moderen meals safety program in Qatar. Extra sections have a look at preservation, experimentation, and Cartesianism, right here interpreted as mathematical abstraction on numerous rural areas. Or perhaps not. One of many solely vertical parts exhibits stereotypical photographs of nation life, designed by Niklas Maak and college students on the Harvard Graduate Faculty of Design. (Koolhaas is a Harvard professor.) They appear to be shorthand for…one thing.

guggenheim top landing countryside the future

Laurian Ghinitoiu, courtesy AMO.

At occasions it’s onerous to make sense of what the general intention of the exhibit is. Is it to bolster that the countryside has been affected, most frequently negatively, by the intrusion of cities and mass manufacturing, and that one thing has been misplaced within the course of? It’s onerous to argue with that thesis. Is it a name to motion? If that’s the case, to do what? The quantity of data is dizzying and infrequently overwhelming. And whereas a lot of it’s informative, it nonetheless typically leaves the viewer questioning what to do with all of it. Take it in all as soon as or in small items? Both manner, viewers are certain to have questions—though what we might actually use are extra solutions.


Countryside, The Future might be on show via August 14th, 2020. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is situated at 1071 Fifth Ave. Name 212-423-3500 or go to guggenheim.org for tickets and extra data.



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