The Department of State has announced the organizers of the U.S. Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.
Three curators will steer the exhibition, Dimensions of Citizenship, at the 16th edition of the international exposition: the University of Chicago’s Niall Atkinson, an associate professor of art history; architect Ann Lui, an assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and the co-founder of Chicago-based Future Firm; and Mimi Zeiger, a Los Angeles-based architecture critic, curator, and educator.
Additionally, SAIC and the University of Chicago will serve as co-commissioners of the show.
Running from May 26 to November 25, 2018, Dimensions of Citizenship will grapple with the meaning of citizenship. “For us, this is a really urgent topic,” Lui told RECORD by phone. “Conversations about citizenship have been part of the national conscience lately, and architecture has notably been at the center of those talks—from the border wall and airports to monuments in parks. I think architects need to reckon with these issues. We hope this is a framework for how to do that moving forward.”
Lui described the curators’ ideal show as interdisciplinary in nature, and plans to include installations, immersive experiences, and video content. “We hope that exhibitors draw from a wide range of research,” she said, “and that the work they produce challenges existing modes of architectural practice.”
Though the list of participants has not yet been released, Lui revealed that the curators prioritized diversity when it came to selecting contributors—both in the “traditional sense,” said Lui, and in terms of professional experience and focus. “We think the most productive conversation about citizenship is one that brings in a wide range of voices and perspectives,” she said. “We’re really proud and excited to have newly established offices, firms working at an international scale, and more academic practices doing bleeding-edge research.”
SAIC and the University of Chicago will announce the exhibitors selected for the U.S. Pavilion by the end of September.
The larger Biennale will be curated by Irish architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, co-founders of Grafton Architects, who are organizing the exhibition around the theme “Freespace.” In a statement released earlier this summer, the duo said that the biennial event will explore “examples of generosity and thoughtfulness in architecture throughout the world.”
Coverage of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale sponsored by Hunter Douglas Architectural.