U.S. Pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
May 20 – November 26, 2023
U.S. Pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia will become global forum for exploring the world’s complex relationship to plastic. Curated by Tizziana Baldenebro and Lauren Leving, “Everlasting Plastics” brings together artists and designers to examine one of humankind’s most pervasive, long-lasting inventions. Cleveland-based alternative art organization SPACES, led by Executive Director Tizziana Baldenebro, to serve as commissioner.
Cleveland, OH, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, will activate the U.S. Pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia with site-specific installations that explore one of the most ubiquitous materials in our world: plastic. Curated by Tizziana Baldenebro, SPACES’ Executive Director, and Lauren Leving, Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Everlasting Plastics provides a platform for artists and designers to engage audiences in reframing the overabundance of plastic detritus in our waterways, landfills, and streets as a rich resource. The exhibition will be on view from May 20 through November 26, 2023.
“Inherent to art and architecture is the aesthetic and materiality of form. Everlasting Plastics bridges this divide by drawing on the power of looking to serve as an entry point for reconsidering our relationships to material worlds,” said Baldenebro. “As the climate crisis becomes a tangible reality, our daily objects must be agents of change. This exhibition extends SPACES’ commitment to supporting artistic experimentation by bringing together a range of practices that are examining, salvaging, and upending a global calamity.” Five artists and designers – Xavi Aguirre (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Assistant Professor of Architecture); Simon Anton (Detroit-based designer); Ang Li(Northeastern University School of Architecture Assistant Professor); Norman Teague (University of Illinois at Chicago Assistant Professor in the School of Design); and Lauren Yeager (Cleveland-based sculptor) – will create site-specific works for the pavilion exploring plastic as a single, enduring material with infinite forms. In doing so, Everlasting Plastics invites a discussion about the ways that plastics both shape and erode contemporary ecologies, economies, and the built environment, while also suggesting possible alternatives and necessary re-imaginings for the ways in which plastics are deployed.
“From toys to camping coolers, plastic is deeply embedded in the culture of the United States, where polymers were perfected and exported,” said Leving. “Our toxic chemical relationship with the material is now a global phenomenon, requiring new approaches for addressing a widespread dependency around the world.” Partnerships with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio; Venice Lagoon Plastic Free; and other organizations will be the source of transnational programming that expands dialogue and action around the future of plastics. Accompanying the show, a lecture series, student courses, and workshops will draw parallels between Ohio’s largest industries, and the plastic waste accumulating on the banks of the Venetian Lagoon, connecting communities most affected by plastic production, pollution, and environmental mismanagement.