• Private Views: A High-Rise Panorama of Manhattan
    Andi Schmied
    Irena Lehkoživová and Barbora Špičáková
    Sara Emilia Bernat, Ava Lynam, Peter Noever, Jack Self, Michael Sorkin, Samuel Stein, Anthony Vidler, Sharon Zukin, and feminist architecture collaborative
    VI PER Gallery, 2020

Andi Schmied, Central Park view from the 100th floor Private Ballroom of Central Park Club, 1,550 feet, Central Park Tower, designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture; upon completion, will be the tallest residential tower on the planet, 2020. Courtesy the artist

Despite the iconic nature of the Manhattan skyline, there are only a few places the public can see it from easily in its entirety, even if paying: the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center, One World Trade Center, and the Edge at Hudson Yards. All other elevated views are a private privilege, only available to owners of luxury penthouses. Posing as an apartment-hunting Hungarian billionaire, artist Andi Schmied accessed and documented the views of twenty-five of the city's most exclusive high-rise properties. Showcasing the surreal strategies of persuasion used by real estate agents, and complemented by the essays of twelve authors, the book allows readers to bypass the gatekeepers of luxury real estate, guiding them through the sunset from Trump Tower, the private club of the tallest residential tower on the planet, and showing samples of the most luxurious materials, such as the Siberian marble used in soaking tubs overlooking the Statue of Liberty.

Andi Schmied is a visual artist and architect based in Budapest, Hungary. The focus of her installations, videos, and printed work is the architectural framing of social space. She uncovers unexpected human behaviors and urban anomalies—places that, for one reason or another, do not follow conventional logic, yet remain part of our cityscape. These vary from areas that have deviated far from their originally planned function (Jing Jin City), utopian architectures (Noguchi Town), or spaces of privilege (Private Views). Schmied graduated from the Bartlett School of Architecture in London and her work has been shown in London, Southampton, Sapporo, Beijing, Rotterdam, and Budapest, among other locations. She has been artist-in-resident at S-AIR, Sapporo (Japan); Triangle Arts, New York (US); DordtYart, Dordrecht (Netherlands); Meetfactory, Prague (Czech Republic); Outpost, Norwich (UK); and MuseumQartier, Vienna (Austria).

Irena Lehkoživová is an architectural historian and a cofounder of VI PER Gallery in Prague, currently working at the Archive of Fine Arts in Prague. She is the editor or coeditor of books such as Zdenek Seydl a knihy (Zdenek Seydl and Books; Archiv v_tvarného umění, 2015), The Paneláks: Twenty Five Housing Estates in the Czech Republic (UPM, 2017), and Sídliště Ďáblice: Architektura pro lidi (The Ďáblice Housing Estate: Architecture for the People; Spolek přátel sídliště Ďáblice, 2019), among others.

Barbora Špičáková is an art historian and curator. She cofounded VI PER Gallery in Prague 2016 and currently works at the Archive of Fine Arts in Prague. Between 2010 and 2015 she led an exhibition space for young artists called Fenester. She is author and editor of books such as Sídliště Solidarita [Solidarita Housing Estate] (Archiv v_tvarného umění, 2014), Zdenek Seydl a knihy (Zdenek Seydl and Books; Archiv v_tvarného umění, 2015), Galerie H (Archiv v_tvarného umění, 2016), Ludmila Vachtová: Tady a teď (Here and Now; Archiv v_tvarného umění, 2018), and National Library of Technology in Prague (NTK, 2019).

Sara Emilia Bernat is a sociologist and luxury brand strategist. She holds an MPS in branding from the School of Visual Arts in New York and currently is a PhD candidate at Humboldt Universität in Berlin with specialization in sustainable luxury. In tandem with her research, she advises private and public organizations on brand strategy and development.

feminist architecture collaborative (f-architecture) is a New York-based research practice and shared alias of Gabrielle Printz, Virginia Black, and Rosana Elkhatib. Their projects traverse theoretical and material registers to locate new forms of architectural work through critical relationships with collaborators across continents and an expanding definition of Designer. In addition to their promiscuous design efforts, they have written widely on matters of architecture and also about blood, protest, and Princess Nokia.

Ava Lynam is an urban designer and researcher. Having previously worked on urban strategy, public realm, and housing projects at London and Dublin based Metropolitan Workshop, she is currently part of the Urban Rural Assembly research team at Habitat Unit, Technische Universität Berlin. Her research interests focus on the fields of urban sociology, coproductive planning approaches, land dynamics, and urban-rural linkages, with a particular focus on Southeast and East Asian contexts.

Peter Noever is a designer, Ausstellungsmacher and curator-at-large of art, architecture, and media. From 1986 to 2011, as artistic director and CEO, he radically redefined the program of MAK, Austrian Museum of Applied Arts and Contemporary Art in Vienna. He also is the founder of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles. In his vision, the present is never simply a given, but rather something always to be fought for. From industrial design to the urban scale, Noever has built various renowned design and architecture projects. He lectures at leading universities and art institutions around the world and is author and editor of over fifty publications.

Jack Self is a London based architect. He is director of the REAL Foundation and editor-in-chief of Real Review. In 2016, he curated the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale with the show Home Economics. Self’s other work includes curation, exhibition design, brand consultancy and communications, publishing, editing, writing, furniture design, and art direction.

Michael Sorkin (1948–2020) was an American architect and urbanist, celebrated internationally not only for his design of cities and buildings but also for his architectural criticism and pedagogy. Principal of Michael Sorkin Studio, with offices in New York, Shanghai, and Xi’an, he was also founder and director of Terreform, a nonprofit urban research institute and advocacy group. Sorkin was distinguished professor of architecture and director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at the City College of New York. He also served as architecture critic for The Nation and a contributing editor for Architectural Record, and was author or editor of over twenty books.

Samuel Stein is a policy analyst in New York City, and the author of Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State (Verso, 2019) as well as numerous contributions to academic journals, magazines, newspapers, and edited volumes. His work focuses on the politics of urban planning, with an emphasis on housing, labor, real estate, and gentrification.

Anthony Vidler is a historian and critic of modern and contemporary architecture. He is a professor and former dean at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union. As a designer and curator, he installed exhibitions, among others, in the Royal Salt Works of Arc-et-Senans in Franche-Comté, in the Canadian Centre of Architecture, Montreal, and Yale Centre for British Art in New Haven. He is the author and editor of over a dozen publications, including The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely (MIT Press, 1992) and Warped Space: Art, Architecture, and Anxiety in Modern Culture (MIT Press, 2000).

Sharon Zukin is a professor of sociology who specializes in urban change as a reflection of culture, capital, and real estate development. She teaches at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Amsterdam, the University of Western Sydney, and Tongji University. Writer and editor of over a dozen publications, her newest book, The Innovation Complex: Cities, Tech, and the New Economy (Oxford University Press, 2020), examines the shaping of the tech ecosystem in New York.

Tereza Hejmová (graphic designer) is a Czech graphic designer and assistant professor at Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno University of Technology. She has worked on book projects for leading Czech art institutions and publishers as well as for numerous artists and architects. Hejmová has been awarded first prize at “The Most Beautiful Czech Books” several times. She also got an honorary mention at the “Most Beautiful Books of the World” for her work on Aliens and Herons, a book that examines the abundance of public sculpture created during Czechoslovakia’s “Normalization” years.

Founded in 2016 in Prague, VI PER Gallery is focused on architecture in the broadest sense, together with its relations and points of intersection with contemporary art, urbanism, design and media, as well as the political, legal, social, economic and ecological contexts which help to shape architecture and the built environment. VI PER is provides a space for interdisciplinary research, discussion, and collaboration to generate topics that represent new connections and impulses in the various forms: exhibitions, lectures and debates, workshops, and other public and educational events, and publications. VI PER is a member of the Future Architecture Platform.

Fenester is a nonprofit organization founded in 2012. We are a collective of art and architecture historians based in Prague. In 2016 we opened our exhibition space, VI PER Gallery. VI PER Gallery focuses on architecture in the broadest sense, together with its relations and points of intersection with contemporary art, urbanism, design and media, as well as the political, legal, social, economic and ecological contexts which help to shape architecture and the built environment. The exhibition’s topics explore social issues in a broader sense and their relationship with architecture and art. Our objective is to highlight the great potential that architecture and art have within society and to generate topics that represent new connections and impulses. VI PER Gallery thus provides space for interdisciplinary research and discussion. Part of the gallery space is a bookstore focused on architecture. VI PER Gallery is part of the pan-European platform, Future Architecture.