Josiah McElheny (born 1966 in Boston, USA; lives and works in New York City, USA).
Hand-blown and molded glass modules, wood, and hardware.
“The exhibition’s centerpiece is an eight-foot tall sculpture based on Mies van der Rohe’s earliest model of a glass-clad skyscraper. Mies’s model, as depicted in a series of photographs he took in 1922, is a transparent monolith that towers above a swarm of vernacular housing he designed to appear horrifying and decrepit. McElheny’s sculpture, Bruno Taut’s Monument to Socialist Spirituality (after Mies van der Rohe), is an enlarged version of this original maquette that recasts Mies’s design in the spirit of rival architect Bruno Taut. Made from birch ply and stacked blocks of multi-colored glass, the model has been made anew to reflect Taut’s belief in translucency (not transparency) and the transformative spiritual power of wildly colored enclosures.”
—Press release, “Josiah McElheny, Proposals for a Chromatic Modernism,” Andrea Rosen Gallery website.
“‘Even more overtly revisionist is Bruno Taut’s Monument to Socialist Spirituality (After Mies van der Rohe), a finely crafted eight-foot-tall take on Mies’s first model for a glass-clad skyscraper, reworked in the style of a rival architect. McElheny, channeling Taut, has playfully enlivened Mies’s otherwise austere tower by giving it multicolored windows, transforming both exterior and interior according to the lesser-known designer’s aesthetic.
“McElheny repeats the exercise in four hand-colored photographs that revamp the building’s stark grid as a busy patchwork of red, blue, green and yellow. Modernism casts a long shadow, and McElheny’s mix-and-mismatch approach to its history has an appropriate—if thoroughly familiar—creative logic. But for all their color, the results on this occasion are a little too sleek to feel either subversive or celebratory.”
—Michael Wilson, “Josiah McElheny, Proposals for a Chromatic Modernism,” TimeOut New York, October 5, 2009.