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Indepth Arts News:

"Jorge Pardo: Project"
2000-09-13 until 2001-06-07
Dia Center for the Arts
New York, NY, USA

Jorge Pardo will bring his expanded notion of art practice to Dia Center for the Arts with a project that completely transforms the ground floor of Dia's 548 West 22nd Street facility. A Los-Angeles-based artist, Pardo will richly and subtly fuse the aesthetic and utilitarian in his renovation of the Museum's lobby, bookstore, and first-floor gallery.

Pardo's fresh, ebullient design for the 9,000-square-foot space reconsiders the audience's experience by smoothing circulation, enhancing visitor amenities, and infusing the ground floor with natural and refracted light by means of a lively palette of ceramic tiles in an exhilarating combination of bright limes and lemons offset by mustard yellows and avocado greens.

The new experience will begin on West 22nd Street as newly-opened windows and doors expose the fluid space and inviting colors to passersby. The reconfigured lobby will feature a relocated main entrance, reception area, and ticketing facility which opens into Dia's dramatically expanded bookstore area. Here, the artist will introduce stylish seating and extensive shelving to house an in-depth selection of artist monographs and catalogues, contemporary poetry, and volumes on art history, theory and criticism, as well as works from Electronic Arts Intermix's unrivalled collection of artist videos. This enhanced collection will serve as a much-needed resource in New York City as well as an oasis for comfortable browsing by gallery visitors. The store will also provide space for such intimate public programs as book signings, web launches, and readings.

To reinforce the visual connections between lobby, bookstore, and exhibition area, Pardo will introduce mural paintings at these key junctures. The animating presence of these abstractions, along with the addition of large glass dividers, will call viewers' attention to the differing qualities and functions of each of Project's component spaces while at the same time facilitating smooth visual transitions among them. In the first-floor gallery, Pardo will present an object chosen specifically for its iconic and associational values with regard to the key conceptions underpinning Project.

Jorge Pardo was born in 1963 in Havana, Cuba, and moved to the United States as a young child. He earned his BFA at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and currently resides in Los Angeles.

Throughout his career, Pardo has mixed work devised for traditional museum spaces with artistic pursuits sited in other venues. He has also combined interpretive and creative modes of artistic practice by assuming the role of curator on occasion. In 1997, Pardo mounted a rotating exhibition of works selected from the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. This followed a substantial commission to create a cafe for the Leipzig Messe in Germany in 1996. Last year at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, Pardo renovated the reception spaces. The Berlin Parliament has recently commissioned a large project from Pardo to be realized in 2001. Pardo's large-scale architectural work ranges from what was planned as a temporary pier for Sculpture Project Munster in 1997 but has now become permanent, to a house, 4166 Sea View Lane, which he presented in 1998 in the context of a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Project, at Dia, will be Pardo's first major presentation in a New York museum and his most complex and multifaceted commission to date. The bookstore and lobby components will remain as a long-term installation, and the gallery space will revert to its original appearance after two years.

In conjunction with Project, Dia will host a panel discussion and publish a book that will address multiple aspects of Pardo's practice, ranging from architecture to design, from exhibition display to art objects. A lecture in the Robert Lehman Lectures on Contemporary Art series will be devoted to Pardo's practice, and the artist will discuss his work with local junior high school teachers who participate in Dia's Arts Education Program.

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