When we play in and around great design, does it teach us?
“Playground of My Mind” is a graphic novel set in New York City. It is a visual reflection by artist Julia Jacquette on how the modernist playgrounds of her childhood influenced both her aesthetics and her thinking. The original paintings on paper were exhibited in 2017 at the Wellin Museum, who also published the memoir.
These playgrounds, of rational and utopian ideals, were constructed in the tumultuous setting of 1960s and 70s New York; a chaotic atmosphere but one which was open to new ideas in architecture and play. The focus of the book is placed on the playgrounds that she interacted with most: Richard Dattner’s seminal Adventure Playground in Central Park, an M. Paul Friedberg playground (now destroyed) that was situated in the city housing she grew up in, and Discovery Play Park, which her father collaborated on, also located in Central Park. The book makes an argument for the reconsideration of “Brutalist” architecture (here in it’s most playful and sculptural form), and affinities with the dutch playgrounds of Aldo van Eyck are delineated.
Julia Jacquette will be joined by writers James Trainor and Allison Meier in conversation on these topics within her solo exhibition at the Visual Arts Center on Sunday October 15th at 2pm. Join us!
Julia Jacquette is an American artist based in New York City and Amsterdam. Her work has been shown extensively at galleries and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art (NY), The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and The RISD Museum among other institutions. Jacquette’s work was included in the first installment of PS1’s “Greater New York” exhibition, and was the subject of a retrospective at the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs. She has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, Princeton University, and is currently on the faculty at the Fashion Institute of Technology (NYC).
James Trainor writes about art, history, landscape, urbanism and contemporary culture. His columns, essays, editorials, interviews and reviews have appeared in Frieze (where he was US Editor from 2004 to 2009), Artforum, Artsy, Art in America, Cabinet, Art Asia Pacific, Bomb, Border Crossings, Contemporary, Metropolis, Programma, The Eggemoggin Reach and other periodicals. His articles have concerned a range of topics including: the ecological costs of publishing an art magazine, radical playground design of the 1960s-1970s, art tourism and the American West, the quixotic quest for the “Center of the World”, a forgotten Land Art site in the forests of Northern Maine, graphic novel journalism in zones of conflict, urban gardening and the anti-lawn movement, and the question of “relevance” in contemporary art.
As a teacher, he is committed to new models of boots-on-the-ground, experiential pedagogy and interdisciplinary exchange. He has taught numerous experimental field seminars with artist Andrea Zittel, including the Institute of Investigative Living at A-Z West in Joshua Tree, CA (2012-ongoing), as well as O! Wounderous Place! (sic) at Mildred’s Lane, in collaboration with Experience Economies (August 2015). James has lectured at Columbia University, New York; Cornell University; University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Bezalel Academy of Art, Tel Aviv; City College of New York, Department of Architecture, and Mildred’s Lane. He studied fine art and art history at Parsons School of Design/The New School for Social Research, New York. In January 2015, he was awarded an Arts Writers Grant from Creative Capital / The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. In 2015 he was granted a writing fellowship at the MacDowell Colony for the Fall 2015 session, and was subsequently named the Mary Carswell Fellow for 2015-2016. In May 2016 he was awarded a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. James lives and works in New York City, where he was born.
Allison C. Meier
AllisonAllison C. Meier is a Brooklyn-based writer focusing on the arts and overlooked history. Currently, she is staff writer at Hyperallergic, and moonlights as a cemetery tour guide at New York burial grounds. She’s also worked as the senior editor at Atlas Obscura, communications manager at the Cooper Union, staff writer at ARTINFO, development coordinator at Untitled [ArtSpace], and as an English language teacher in French primary schools. Freelance work includes stories for the New York Times, Art Desk, ARTNews, Narrative.ly, Fine Books Magazine, Brooklyn Based, Mental Floss, Slate, GOOD Magazine, the Oklahoma Gazette, Oklahoma Today Magazine, and others. She’s talked on cemeteries, art, and great trees at the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Brainery, the Rosenbach Museum, and Green-Wood Cemetery, and curated a 2017 group exhibition on Brooklyn’s Dead Horse Bay at UrbanGlass.
She grew up in Oklahoma and attended the University of Oklahoma, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a degree in Journalism: Professional Writing and minors in French and English Literature. She completed study abroad programs in Clermont-Ferrand and Vichy in France, and spent a summer at Oxford University researching classical archeology. After graduating and working at Untitled [ArtSpace], an Oklahoma City art gallery, and in arts journalism in the state, she moved to France to teach English for a year, and after that relocated to New York. There she’s been exploring ever since!