Case Work toolbox 01 containing studies for the National Music Centre, 2015. Photo: Arthur Hitchcock.
Featuring work by Brad Cloepfil and Allied Works Architecture, Case Work is a traveling exhibition of concept models and drawings that demonstrate how "making" can be a means of thinking, as well as a way of seeing. Accompanied by a newly designed architectural installation, the show provides unparalleled insight into Allied Works's approach to design, while exploring the dialogue between material, technique, and intention that lies at the heart of architectural practice. Each of the artifacts in Case Work embodies a visceral moment in a visual conversation, where the particular medium—charcoal, pencil, wood, glass, steel—is chosen at once for its physical potential to be worked into form, as well as for its elemental material nature. Individually, each specimen is a thought exploration in scale, representing a crystallization of an idea and acting as a catalyst for subsequent inquiry. Taken together, the objects in Case Work occupy the space between architecture and art—in their very abstraction, they initiate discourse on building and structure, public and private, and the nature of making itself. Curated by Dean Sobel, director of the Clyfford Still Museum, Case Work will open at the Denver Art Museum in January 2016, before traveling to venues in Portland, New York, and internationally.
After more than a decade of work and teaching in Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, and Switzerland, Brad Cloepfil founded Allied Works Architecture in his native Portland, Oregon, in 1994. A New York-based office followed in 2003. Cloepfil's body of work is as informed by the landscape and the history of place as it is by formal training. His approach to design combines a research-intensive focus on the specific character of each project with an understanding of the profoundly affecting possibilities of building. In addition to leading all aspects of creative work at Allied Works, Cloepfil has held lecturing positions and guest professorships at institutions including Columbia University; the University of California, Berkeley; Cornell University; Rice University; Syracuse University; and the University of Oregon.
As director of the Clyfford Still Museum, Dean Sobel spearheaded the efforts to create a permanent home for the Clyfford Still Estate, encompassing approximately 3,000 works of art by this preeminent American abstract expressionist artist that were bequeathed to the city of Denver in 2004. Since his appointment in 2005, Sobel, a specialist in twentieth-century art, has established a vision for the museum, which opened in 2011. From 2000 to 2005, Sobel was director of the Aspen Art Museum, a non-collecting kunsthalle. During his tenure, he organized one-person exhibitions of Robert Mangold, Ilya Kabakov, John Currin, Thomas Demand, Elizabeth Peyton, and Olafur Eliasson. From 1995 to 2000, Sobel was chief curator at the Milwaukee Art Museum, where jointly held the position of curator of contemporary art.