• A Country is not a House | Ronald Rael + Virginia San Fratello
    Rael San Fratello
    Brittany Corrales
    ASU Art Museum, Tempe
    May 07, 2022 to Oct 30, 2022
    Arizona State University Art Museum

Installation view of "House Divided/Casa Dividida" by Rael San Fratello with BALa (Border Architecture Laboratory), 2022. Photo: Craig Smith. Courtesy ASU Art Museum

A Country is not a House features architectural designs by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello that address the consequences of the United States–Mexico border wall, offering new, proposed structures. The exhibition features a survey of artifacts from Rael and San Fratello’s border-related design explorations: drawings, prints, photographs, and renderings; and handcrafted objects like snow globes, keychains, and board games, to investigate themes of division and togetherness. The works—both speculative and built—explore the wall’s damaging effects on the people, landscape, and adjacent cities and communities. ASU Art Museum commissioned a new, multi-disciplinary work, House Divided, that illustrates Mexico’s “zero setback,” a zoning policy which allows houses to come up directly to the border wall.

Ronald Rael is an applied architectural researcher, author, design entrepreneur, and thought leader in the fields of additive manufacturing and earthen architecture. In 2014, he cofounded Rael San Fratello with architect Virginia San Fratello and is cofounder of Emerging Objects, an independent, 3D Printing MAKE-tank specializing in innovations in 3D printing architecture, building components, environments, and products. At the University of California, Berkeley, Rael is associate professor of architecture and director of printFARM Laboratory with a joint appointment in the department of architecture, College of Environmental Design, and the department of Art Practice. Rael authored Earth Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008) and Borderwall as Architecture (University of California Press, 2017). He earned his master’s in architecture at Columbia University and received the William Kinne Memorial Fellowship. Previous academic and professional appointments include positions at Southern California Institute for Architecture, Clemson University, University of Arizona, and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Rotterdam.

Virginia San Fratello is an assistant professor at San José State University, School of Art & Design. Prior academic appointments include the University of California, Berkeley; the California College of the Arts; and Clemson University, where she was codirector of Clemson University’s Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genova, Italy. She has been a design faculty member at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles and a visiting professor at the University of Arizona. San Fratello’s research revolves around the convergence of digital, ecological, and building component design in architecture. She was the recipient of Metropolis Magazine’s Next Generation Design Award for her Hydro Wall concept, and with Ronald Rael currently has a collection of recently designed masonry units which hold vegetation on display in New York. She is working with manufacturers/distributors to launch these innovative and sustainable architectural components into the marketplace.

ASU Art Museum curator Brittany Corrales is lead curator for A Country is not a House | Ronald Rael + Virginia San Fratello. Previously serving as assistant curator, Corrales manages the Jules Heller Print Study Room and has curated exhibitions including Change Agent: June Wayne and the Tamarind Lithography Workshop (2019–20), Begin at the End (2019–20), and Terrestrial (2017–18). She holds an master’s in art history from Arizona State University and bachelor’s in art history and Spanish linguistics from University of Arizona. Corrales served as Windgate Curatorial Fellow at ASU Art Museum and also worked for the Center for Creative Photography and Phoenix Art Museum. She participated in the Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art's Emerging Curators Initiative and has written for Phoenix New Times and JAVA Magazine. More recently, Corrales worked for James Turrell's Roden Crater Skystone Foundation. Her areas of scholarship include architecture and design, emerging technologies, and curatorial activism.

ASU Art Museum’s mission is to be a meeting point for the exchange of new ideas, perspectives and experiences among artists, students and the public through our exhibitions, residencies, collections and programs. The museum forges meaningful connections across all areas of research in order to create a better, more sustainable future.