May 31st 2013

Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good

@ Chicago Cultural Center

78 E Washington St Chicago, IL 60602

Opening Friday, May 31st, from 5:30PM - 7:30PM

On view through Sunday, September 1st

I am very pleased to invite you to the opening reception for Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good at the Chicago Cultural Center, Friday May 31, from 5:30-7:30. The exhibition was the official U.S. representation at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennial last August, where it won a special prize from the Biennial jury, and will make its U.S. debut in Chicago at the invitation of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Dilettante Studios designed and built the seating for the event: 60 variations on the cube, fashioned out of found furniture, plastic, wood, and metal.

(The cubes are based on an earlier design from the exhibition Rebuilding Mayfield, a part of Gestures of Resistance, a collaboration between John Preus and Sara Black at the Portland Museum of Contemporary Craft.)

John Preus will be giving a presentation entitled, Derelict Craft, on his art, design, and fabrication work on Saturday, June 1st at 4:30.

Curated by Cathy Lang Ho on behalf of the Institute for Urban Design, the exhibition is devoted to the growing movement of architects, designers, artists, and everyday citizens acting on their own initiative to bring improvements to the urban realm. The Chicago exhibition features 84 projects, and its design and installation is the result of a very talented team of designers, architects, and engineers from New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. It will be on view from May 24-September 2.

Public programs will be offered in conjunction with the exhibition over the summer, starting with a full schedule of panels, events, and workshops during the opening weekend June 1 and 2.


Opening May 24 and running through September 1 Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good features 84 urban interventions initiated by architects, designers, planners, artists and everyday citizens that bring positive change to neighborhoods and cities in addition to a pop-up installation in Millennium Park.

Chicago is the first destination of the installation, which served as the U.S. representation at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale (2012). The Chicago installation will recreate the lively exhibition design of pull-down banners, created by Brooklyn design studio Freecell and Berkeley-based communication design firm M-A-D. The contents of the exhibition have been updated to include more recent and more local projects. Among the 84 projects that will be presented, more than a dozen are from Chicago, including several that also appeared in Venice.

Spontaneous Interventions, organized by Cathy Lang Ho on behalf of the Institute for Urban Design, is devoted to the growing movement of architects, designers, artists, and everyday citizens acting on their own initiative to bring improvements to the urban realm, creating new opportunities and amenities for the public. The exhibition received over 178,000 visitors in Venice, and earned a Special Mention from the Golden Lion jury, the first time the United States has been honored in the history of the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Our goal with Spontaneous Interventions is to use the exhibition as a framework for understanding a larger movement, in which citizens all over the world are devising and implementing clever, low-barrier urban interventions to make their cities more inclusive, sustainable, pleasurable, and safer,” said Cathy Lang Ho, a New York–based design journalist and curator. “For this reason, we have organized a rich roster of programs that will place the trend of tactical urbanism in the context local urban issues and citizen action.” Program director is Samantha Topol, a Chicago editor and writer.

In conjunction with the exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center, Spontaneous Interventions will include a pop-up “outdoor living room” in Millennium Park, designed by Chicago-based MAS Studio, led by architect Iker Gil. The space will serve as an outpost for the exhibition and a venue for exhibition-related programs, including talks, panels, tours, workshops and more. The space will feature a colorful canopy and seating made of salvaged lumber by local artist/woodworker John Preus of Dilettante Studios.

All summer long, programs will take place at the Cultural Center, in the pop-up pavilion in Millennium Park and at various offsite locations. Many of the programs are organized in partnership with Chicago-based designers, nonprofits, community organizations, and city agencies.

Artists and Organizations Featured in the Exhibition:

Candy Chang, Change Administration (Aurash Khawarzad), Center for Urban Pedagogy, COMMONstudio, CROP, Design 99, DSGN AGNC (Quilian Riano), Alexander Eisenschmidt with Cheng+Snyder, envelope a+d (Douglas Burnham), Experimental Station, Theaster Gates, Fritz Haeg, Hester Street Collaborative, LA Green Grounds, Latent Design, Public Media Institute (Ed Marzewski), Moving Design (Ric Valicenti and John Pobojewski), Neighborland, OpenPlans, Rockwell Group, Stamen, Street Plans Collaborative (Mike Lydon), Team Better Block, Jordan Seiler, WORKac, and more.

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