University of Michigan
critic: James Michael TATE.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Olivia LU-HILL: As a young and highly diverse country America struggles with identifying a universally accepted patriotic symbol. George Washington is one of the few presidents widely embraced as a symbol of leadership and pride for the US.
This project aims to speak plainly through a formal organization and embedding of widely accepted and recognized American symbols: the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, the map of the US and the American Flag. While appearing “kitsch” in its straightforwardness, the immediate recognizability of the form identifies a foundation for a unifying culture. Through appropriating techniques from the artists Jasper Johns, Tom Wesselman, and Marcel Duchamp, the design uses various methods of blending pattern to alter the reading of symbols and narrative and through gestalt. The project’s parti placement is based on the boundaries of the US states and program and circulation follow state boundaries as well as the Mason-Dixon border line. Programs follow directly from the US regional customs and history and are announced in the section by the distinct character of the scaled figures of each area (all in the style of George Washington). Each of the scaled figures, take on many personalities from Texas cowboy to Hollywood director and represent how George Washington has been widely embraced as a founding father for diverse American citizens. Similar to the legacy of George Washington this project seeks formalize highly recognizable symbols into a direct and “self-conscious” architecture.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
OL-H: Pin Ball House by Eric Owen Moss; Piazza de Italia by Charles Moore; George Washington by Marcel Duchamp; Map by Jasper Johns; and Still Life # 28 by Tom Wesselmann.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
OL-H: Reading Clement Greenberg, “Avant Garde and Kitsch.”
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
OL-H: Sam Jacob, MOS Architects, and Jimenez Lai.