Friday I attended the press preview for Boolean Valley, potter Adam Silverman and architect Nader Tehrani's collaboration for the Montalvo Art Center in the Silicon Valley. In addition to the installation, the show includes sketches by the artists as well as CAD renderings of the various iterations of the work. There seemed to be some resistance between the two collaborators; inherent in the architectural praxis is the view of ceramic as a construction material (like tile) and the drive to construct things people can fit inside. In the sketches one can see the architects vision of cobbling together the ceramicist's product to form an igloo-like structure. In another drawing, tiles, bowls and cylindrical columns are arranged by height, a classification of the limited possibilities of the medium.Detail of Adam Silverman and Nader Tehrani's Boolean Valley
In the end, the restrictions inherent in potter's wheel--the circular form--trumped the architects schemes. A conical form was thrown, molded, and cast. The resulting multiples--about a cubit tall--were sliced in two in two-inch increments, resulting in about 400 tops and bottoms of varying heights. Each piece was glazed with iron oxide on the bottom half and a cobalt blue on the top. For each installation of the work, a new rolling topography is devised.
The artists' solo work can been seen about Los Angeles. Adam Silverman's Atwater Pottery can be found at the Heath Ceramics store, where his mottled silicon glazes recall the rough circular erosions found in tide pools. Contrast this with Nader Tehrani's BP gas station on Robertson, an angular product 21st century computer-aided design.Detail of Boolean Valley at MOCA Pacific Design Center
The resulting mashup recalls an undulating terrain which becomes claustrophobically boxed in by the architecture of the MOCA PDC baby Borg cube.
My other reason for attending was to hear MOCA's new CEO, Charles Young speak on behalf of MOCA instead of the Bruins. First on his agenda was to announce--along with Charles Cohen, CEO of the Pacific Design Center--the renewal of MOCA's lease of the space. It also seems that MOCA's youngest curatorial department, Architecture and Design, will be relegated to the PDC for the foreseeable future. After stumbling through an introduction of the show and speakers, I pined for a future day when the museum can be returned to director that can understand the product as well as the financial ledger.Detail of Nader Tehrani's Boolean Valley
Boolean Valley is on view at MOCA Pacific Design Center through July 5, 2009. Entrance is free.Detail of Adam Silverman's Boolean Valley
On Sunday, March 22 at 3pm the collaborating artist and architect will speak about the work. On Sunday, June 7 curators Julie Lazar and Brooke Hodge will discuss the installation.