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Barbara Kasten: Architecture & Film (2015–2020)
Barbara Kasten with Stephanie Cristello
Apr 15, 2023 (3pm)
Book Launch

RSVP required

3:00pm | Barbara Kasten in conversation with Stephanie Cristello
4:00pm | Book Signing

Join artist Barbara Kasten alongside author and editor Stephanie Cristello for the official book launch of the monograph Barbara Kasten: Architecture & Film (2015–2020), published by Skira. Delving into unearthed comparisons and histories, this conversation contextualizes Kasten’s ongoing investigations into how moving images and perception play within and through architectural forms.

Since the 1970s, Kasten’s nearly five-decade engagement with abstraction and light has developed through the lens of sculpture, painting, theater, textile, and installation. Well-known within photographic and contemporary art discourse, this publication reconsiders the artist through the broader context of architectural theory. Spanning five years of recent installations following the artist’s first major museum survey Barbara Kasten: Stages (2015–16) at the Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia), the Graham Foundation (Chicago), and MOCA Pacific Design Center (Los Angeles), momentous encounters including Kasten’s Crown Hall (2018) installed within architect Mies van der Rohe’s iconic glass and steel structure and her solo exhibition Scenarios (2020–21) at the Aspen Art Museum serve as a primer to her revolutionary methods of abstraction.

Replete with full-color plates, the book features a long-form interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist following significant collaborations on the design of the stage for Obrist’s Interview Marathon (2018) and the film The New Bauhaus (2019) on artist László Moholy-Nagy; curator Humberto Moro’s interwoven comparison to the sensitivities of space, geometry, and color in the buildings of Mexican architect Luis Barragán; how Kasten’s work remains in conversation with new practitioners from architecture critic and curator Mimi Zeiger; and an elective history informed by Kasten’s early cyanotypes of sacred sites and goddess structures that provide a “stage” to disclose the spiritual basis of her approach to light by editor Cristello.

Presented in partnership with Skira

Stephanie Cristello is a contemporary art critic, curator, and author based in Chicago. Her work focuses on artists who critically engage with the image and its role in visual culture. She graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013 with a liberal arts thesis in visual critical studies. Cristello was previously the Senior Editor US for ArtSlant (2012–18) and the founding Editor-in-Chief of THE SEEN, Chicago’s International Journal of Contemporary & Modern Art (2013–20). Her writing has been published in ArtReview, BOMB Magazine, Elephant Magazine, Frieze MagazineMousse Magazine, OSMOS, and Portable Gray. She has delivered panels at the US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale for Architecture, Independent Curators International (ICI), the Terra Foundation for American Art, Manifest Institute, the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and Nordic Talks. Cristello served as the artistic director of EXPO CHICAGO (2013–2020) and is currently the director / curator at Chicago Manual Style (Chicago) and Curator-at-Large at Kasmin (New York). In 2020–21, she was a curatorial advisor to the 2020 Busan Biennale (South Korea) as well as a guest curator at Kunsthal Aarhus (Denmark), the Malmö Art Museum (Sweden), and the Driehaus Museum (Chicago). Cristello has contributed to numerous exhibition catalogues nationally and internationally, including monographs on the work of Lap-See Lam (Bonniers Konsthall / Lenz Press, 2021), Mamma Andersson and Tal R (Kunsten Museum / Malmö Art Museum, 2022). She is the author of Theodora Allen: Saturnine (Motto / Kunsthal Aarhus, 2021), Sustainable Societies for the Future (Motto / Malmö Art Museum, 2021), and Barbara Kasten: Architecture and Film 2015–2020 (Skira, 2022). In 2020, she was awarded a publication grant by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Barbara Kasten (b. 1936, Chicago) lives and works in Chicago. She received her BFA from the University of Arizona in 1959 and MFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1970. Kasten’s practice centers around an exploration of the nature of perception and materiality. Her photographic output using both studio and natural lighting has been essential to the last decade of multi-disciplinary work in sculpture, video, installation, and public art. These works continue to examine an object’s presence within both illusionistic and real space. Forms--designated by shadow, color, and the space between objects--oscillate between representation and abstraction. Her work has been exhibited across the United States and Europe. Most recently, Kasten was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany, which traveled to Sammlung Goetz, Germany, and is open through April 2023. Other recent exhibitions include Barbara Kasten: Scenarios, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado; Women in Abstraction, Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, and Centre Pompidou, France; The 2020 Busan Biennale: Words at an Exhibition—an exhibition in ten chapters and five poems, South Korea; Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art, TATE Modern, UK; Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber, Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; and a retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia that traveled to the Graham Foundation in Chicago and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Her work is featured in the collections such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Modern, London; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC among many others.

Barbara Kasten: Architecture & Film (2015–2020) was supported by a Graham Foundation publication grant, click here to learn more.