Planning Retreat 2014: Saint Louis

PLUG Projects took on their annual planning retreat this August in Saint Louis, Missouri. The planning retreat allows time and focus for PLUG members to brainstorm and discuss exhibitions, workshops, critical writing components, and fundraising for the coming year. While in Saint Louis we explored only the surface of St. Louis by touring  The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts with Jennifer Baker from their curatorial department, visiting The Contemporary Art Museum, checking out The Luminary‘s new space,  eating at Osage Cafe at Bowood Farms, and we finished off by meeting with artist Ann Maree Walker in her home studio. Thank you to those who graciously accommodated our stay and helped guide our visit through marvelous location and food suggestions.

Andy Brayman Studio Visit

It seems like Floor Plan just opened, but here at Plug we are busy planning for the upcoming show Rare Earth, featuring artists that are interested in dealing with environmental issues in their studio practice.  Plug members stopped by local artist Andy Brayman’s studio to see his how he addressed this issue in a technological manner.

Brayman employs local data to determine the outcomes of his objects and decals which are made using both traditional ceramic processes and new technology.

One of Brayman’s devices included this 3D Scanning camera, and shown is Misha’s face being documented.

Brayman’s practice is heavily researched based and he is great at explaining this advanced technology in layman’s terms.  I highly encourage everyone to check out more of what he’s been up to here.

And of course stop by Plug for every Saturday from 10-5 to see our current show, and our next opening, Rare Earth Friday, May 17th!

February Conduit @ the Kansas City Museum

Howdy Plug enthusiasts,

Despite the snowy weather, our February Conduit Event held at the Kansas City Museum last Saturday was a fruitful experience. In case you haven’t heard of our Conduit program, the events are intended to extend the ideas proposed by the exhibitions at Plug by facilitating public activities in interesting and unusual community spaces. In this case, the venue pertaining to Jill Downen’s Three Dimensional Sketchbook was none other than the Kansas City Museum, located in northeast Kansas City.

Misha greeting partipants at the Visitor Center

On museum grounds, we toured the Corinthian Hall, the 100+ year old home of lumber baron Robert A. Long and his family. The Museum itself is in a state of ongoing renovation, revealing the hidden structure of the architecture as well as remainders of the original form. This juxtaposition created an experience of constant surprise as one would shift from century old furnishing to present renovations with missing gaps between.

Following the tour, we dispersed with materials in hand to make note of structural shifts and moments that commanded our attention. Here are some photographs taken by Leon Jones, one participant of the bunch.

As we walked throughout the halls, I couldn’t help but recall Jill Downen’s constructions in miniature as they appeared behind and between the aged facades. As you may have gathered, the Kansas City Museum is a rather mysterious place of which, I for one, hope to revisit soon.

Here’s an image of the group feats.


Today is the last day to experience Jill Downen’s Three Dimensional Sketchbook, but don’t get too hung up if you couldn’t make it out. Downen has been awarded a space at the Studios Inc Residency in Kansas City for 2013-1015, so be sure to keep an eye out for future opportunities to see her work.


posted in: Architecture, Blog, Site Visit, Superstruct | 1

This past April (while on a road trip from NJ to KC), I had the opportunity to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s domestic commission, Fallingwater, nestled in the woods of Pennsylvania just outside Pittsburg.

Fallingwater: Initial Approach

What is immediately clear upon approach is that Lloyd knows his architectural history. It would appear that Wright synthesized certain principles of design from across a spectrum of cultures and histories. These principles of balance and grace were clarified, and then combined to achieve a new harmony. Clean lines, flawless integration with its natural surroundings, and modular domestic amenities inside and out are reminiscent of Japanese architecture.  Every square inch of space, overlap and point of contact is considered.

One of the most glaring differences between experiencing this home and contemporary homes are that the proportions of everything- thresholds, to rooms and windows, planters and the pool- each one is so contentious.

Frankly, I was shocked to see Wright use an ochre color of paint applied to concrete shaped into soft round, repeating curves. When I think of Wright’s style, angular bricks in squat midwest prairie iterations spring to mind. In my humble opinion, Falling Water also references Adobe abodes, so characteristic to the American Southwest.

Pueblos de Taos, New Mexico

The ochre body with red window trim made the home both pop and recede into the foliage depending on the strength of the sun through the clouds that day. I overheard a passing guide mention the color was derived from the underside of a fallen, dead leaf.

Falling Water's cantaliever

Paint Colors: Wright’s desire to create a unified and organic composition limited the color palette at Fallingwater. Only two colors were used throughout:  a light ochre for the concrete and his signature Cherokee red for the steel (PPG Pittsburgh Paints). –Fallingwater Facts

Even though this home was built in 1936, its vision and clarity resonates today. I wonder what kind of lives were enriched by existing amidst nature mingling with these walls. Fallingwater is a fantastic specimen of “superstruct,” the original foundation here literally being nature and conceptually being a myriad of architectural histories/principles that are built upon. It is a structure quietly ahead of its time.


Fallingwater is anchored seamlessly into natural rock. (extra points if you spot my mother)
We even admired the patio furniture; the raised center design takes into account the position of lounging legs and feet.


Peter Volkous sculpture signed '58 spotted by the spring-fed pool