As a rule, architects must be deftly skilled with a pencil and a T-square, but how good are they when it’s time to draw freehand? Tonight, Manhattan’s Storefront for Art and Architecture offers answers to that question in "Red/Read," this year's homophonously titled edition of their annual spring benefit, which honors Barbara Kruger and Bernard Tschumi. The artist and the architect both frequently use red in their work, whether it's Tschumi’s fire-engine folly at Paris’s Parc de la Villette and ubiquitous red scarf, or Kruger’s regular use of the color in her text-centric art, which is as frequently read as it is red.
The main attraction of the evening of cocktails and canapés at the Woolworth building — which will be specially illuminated in red for the occasion — is a silent auction featuring work by prominent artists and architects (and a few artist-architects), ranging from watercolors by Steven Holl to photography by Rem Koolhaas. Haas & Haan, headed by architect and artist duo Jeroen Koolhaas (yes, of the famous Koolhaases) and Dre Urhahn, contributed “Proposal for Painting the Baruch Housing Projects” (2010), a psychedelic backlit duratrans print depicting a kaleidoscopic version of the New York City residences, and reminiscent of the pair's colorful Favela Painting project in the Santa Marta slums of Rio de Janeiro. Art from artists abounds, too; the auction features prints by John Baldessari and Shirin Neshat, as well as Kruger’s “Untitled (Is Blind Idealism Reactionary)” (2011), for the modest starting bid of $45,000. Between bids, guests will have a rare opportunity to tour the spire of the beloved neo-Gothic skyscraper.
The foremost architectural draw will be Tschumi’s "Manhattan Transcripts, The Fall (Red, black and grey diagram)" (1980/2012). The editions were made from his depiction of a man falling from an elevator, bearing flourishes of the color of the evening. Tschumi’s 1970s proposal when he first created these prints was to transcribe the abstract into architecture, to outline spaces and indicate movements on an architectural stage. “While Muybridge with his stills made movement visible through photographs, The Manhattan Transcripts made visible through images, texts, and diagrams the movement of thought,” Storefront director Eva Franch I Gilabert told ARTINFO in an email. “Tschumi's work conflated abstraction and emotion, producing a work of uncanny attributes.” Bidding on each of the 20 editions begins at $1,000.
Individual tickets for the event have long sold out, but higher level are still tickets available, as are tickets to the afterparty at the Wooly, the party space in the basement. For those unable to attend at all, absentee bids are still being taken online.
Red/Read is tonight at the Woolworth building. To see more of the art and architecture auction lots, click the slide show.