26 January to
28 April 2013
7374 East Second Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Contact+1 480 874 4666
In 2010, SMoCA initiated a series of three exhibitions exploring the trajectory of Paolo Soleri's art, architecture and philosophy. Paolo Soleri: Mesa City to Arcosanti is the second in the series.
This exhibition will begin in the early 1960s when Soleri shifted his focus from bridges and residences to large-scale urban planning based on environmental accountability. Soleri's first comprehensive vision of a community is Mesa City, an example of what he calls an “arcology,” or an architectural project based on the synthesis of architecture + ecology. In Mesa City, Soleri combines the goals of high-density living, a vibrant urban space, environmental sustainability, respect for natural resources and a commercial sector based upon creativity. The exhibition will end with Arcosonti (arcology + Cosanti), a project primarily built in the 1970s and ’80s near Mayer, Arizona.
Soleri's architectural drawings appear in the form of sketchbooks and uninterrupted drawings on long rolls of butcher paper. On display will be a very early design of Mesa City on a scroll from 1959. The second is a bright, imaginative illustration of an even larger, high-density community, Macro-Cosanti; the drawing measures over 40 feet long. Here Soleri’s aesthetic style shines through in brilliant colors and delicate detail. A beautifully restored model depicts Soleri’s first three-dimensional imaginings of Arcosanti. It was previously exhibited at the Corcoran Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in the 1970s before construction on Arcosanti began. Additionally, framed drawings, archival photographs, videos and iPads will enable visitors to explore hundreds of sketches and see the evolution of Soleri’s visionary urban planning. This project will present scholarly-driven, primary research about one of America's most visionary cross-disciplinary artists. This series of exhibitions on Paolo Soleri supports SMoCA’s continual innovation in exhibiting art, architecture and design.
Organized by: the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Sponsored by: the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Paul Giancola and Carrie Lynn Richardson.
After moving to the United States in 1946 for a brief fellowship at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, Paolo Soleri (Italian, b. 1919) became an internationally-renowned architect, urban designer, artist and philosopher, who explored countless possibilities for the urban built environment. For more than 60 years, Soleri sketched unique designs for high-density, integrated, sustainable communities. His idea of “arcology” (architecture + ecology) stretches beyond building design to encompass urgent social concerns such as renewable energy sources, urban sprawl and the isolating effects of technology. One outstanding endeavor of arcology is Arcosanti, a community located in the high desert of Mayer, Arizona. This urban laboratory focuses on pursuing lean alternatives to sprawl through innovative design with environmental accountability. As ecological issues have made their way into public discourse, Soleri’s position as a pioneer in this area has become increasingly self-evident.