Lebbeus Woods

Lebbeus Woods, Photon Kite, from the series Centricity, 1988; graphite on paper; Collection SFMOMA, purchase through a gift of the Members of the Architecture + Design Forum, SFMOMA Architecture and Design Accessions Committee, and the architecture and design community in honor of Aaron Betsky, Curator of Architecture, Design and Digital Projects, 1995-2001; © Estate of Lebbeus Woods

Holy crap. Garry Winogrand may be the marquee attraction at SFMOMA right now, but the Lebbeus Woods show gives him a run for his money. Wow. If Winogrand is a look through our past, Woods is crazy futuristic. Emphasis on the crazy. In the best way.

Woods’s conception of architecture embraces the chaos of the world rather that fighting against it. As a result, his structural concepts appear to be alive and have organic history just like any other organism. War-damaged buildings have scar tissue. San Francisco is reenvisioned with buildings which also have tectonic plates.

This is all wildly impractical and hugely evocative. A Sci-Fi world I would love to see yet also one which scares the bejeezus out of me. Despite its appeal and beauty, I would try and avoid us becoming that world at all costs.*

*Recommended reading, this review from Katya Tylevich which does a much better job at explaining things.

Woods’s drawings are also just fantastic tours de force. They inspire me to pick up a pen and draw while also telling me to not even try, it’s impossible. Whether it’s his pages full of patterns and textures or his simultaneously precise yet sketchy crosshatched renderings, I can’t even come up with the words to adequately describe them.

Seriously. If you’re in the Bay Area, go see this show. It’ll blow your mind.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at njwv.wordpress.com, and the web at vossbrink.net

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