Curator David van der Leer Recognized at the Venice Architecture Biennale

Installation view: Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good

At the opening of the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale on August 29, the jury awarded a Special Mention to the exhibition Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good. Featured at the U.S. Pavilion, the exhibition was commissioned and curated by Cathy Lang Ho and cocurated by Ned Cramer and David van der Leer, Assistant Curator of Architecture and Urban Studies at the Guggenheim Museum.

Spontaneous Interventions responds to the burgeoning movement to catalyze metropolitan communities and solve urban issues through innovative, improvisational, DIY, and participatory projects, such as the BMW Guggenheim Lab. To this end, it highlights and contextualizes a collection of 124 collaborative ventures across the United States, including urban farms, guerilla bike lanes, temporary architecture, and urban-navigation apps created by the likes of COMMONstudio, Design 99, Futurefarmers, GOOD, HabitatMap, MIT Media Lab, No Longer Empty, and Streetfilms, among others.

The exhibition is positioned within the framework of the biennale as a whole, which this year is directed by David Chipperfield and titled Common Ground. Fueled by the desire to address what he refers to as “the apparent lack of understanding that exists between the profession and society,” and inspired by the themes of continuity, context, and memory, and collective influences and outlooks, Chipperfield aims to “put into perspective the undeniable individual architectural achievements that have given identity to the recent years, and to provoke a more focused consideration of our shared concerns and expectations.”

For the first ever Special Mention during the Venice Architecture Biennale for the U.S. Pavilion, the jury said in a statement, “This interactive installation impressed the jury with its celebration of the power of individuals to change society in small but effective ways. The unpretentiously simple presentation was a delight."

The U.S. State Department selected Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good to be featured in the U.S. Pavilion upon the recommendation of the Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions (FACIE), organized by the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition runs through November 25, 2012.

Installation view: Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good, U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale, fall 2012. Photo: Courtesy Interboro

Marxz Rosado, The Process for Attaining the Signature of Pedro Albizu Campos in Neon Lights (Proceso para conseguir la firma de Pedro Albizu Campos en luces de neón), 1977–2002

Guggenheim Blogs

Explore art and ideas from around the world on our Webby Award–nominated blogs.