Veil Craft is the inaugural exhibition of M&A x Craft Contemporary, a five-year partnership between the two institutions exploring craft through art and architecture. Veil Craft is a site-specific installation by emerging San Francisco-based architectural studio Figure, which takes its inspiration from the everyday construction materials in Los Angeles to transform the museum’s courtyard into a temporary pocket park.
About Veil Craft
All of Los Angeles is undergoing construction. For every historic building that comes down, a new temporary architecture goes up: opaque, shimmering veils of green, white, orange and black construction textiles that wrap themselves around an unknown future. Their presence signals many things: a new building, an influx of funding, and perhaps most contentiously, the possibility of new neighbors. Referred to often as construction tarps or scaffolding netting, these robust, porous, and colorful textiles have inadvertently become a near permanent facade aesthetic through the ubiquity of construction in the city of Los Angeles.
Veil Craft is a new exhibition by Materials & Applications that proposes to investigate the cultural resonance of such industrial ready-mades seen throughout our city. The exhibition features new work by emerging San Francisco-based architectural studio Figure, whose installation deploys such textiles as artistic material rendered anew by architectural craft. Following our history of production, the installation transforms an underutilized urban courtyard into a temporary pocket park, unfolding in the summer of 2020 in the courtyard of Craft Contemporary. The exhibition will be free and open to the public during the museum’s operation hours.
In this courtyard, brickwork meets glass and steel meets painted patterns in a playful cacophony, in which one may find delightful and truly strange juxtapositions. This heterogeneity of styles and textures also contributes to an effect of still-in-progress. In combination, one begins to subvert the typical spatial associations of the material. The public is invited to inhabiting the interior of an unfinished site, where the fabric becomes the canvas - not upon which, but through which - one can perceive and contemplate the material essences of the courtyard. The textiles vary in their transparency, texture, and color, and through careful selection and placement, the installation aims to recreate the courtyard into a space of layered effects of filtering and screening. Various apertures or portals are cut from the fabrics to reveal original materiality of the courtyard. The space unifies through these long draping screens, but also becomes a continuously shifting and unfolding experience as one navigates the courtyard.
Veil Craft is a spatial and textural intervention, a transformative act that brings forward the everyday, invisible materiality of Los Angeles’ changing landscape in order to interrogate it. The project is a part of an existing line of inquiry for Figure, in which they investigate the latent performative potentials of unassuming materials by subverting their utility in unexpected ways. Simultaneously, the work is also a continuation of Materials & Applications’ 2020 curatorial topic Staging Construction. Similar questions of accessibility, labor practices, and community engagement are brought into a renewed focus at a civic scale, with the long standing mission of M&A, in which the notion of craft is invariably linked to the act of building. The project aims to activate the public’s interest in the overlooked materiality of our built environment, bringing together expert and non-expert audiences in conversation about Los Angeles’ material culture, thus bridging industry, craft, artistic and architectural audiences together.