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When Art and Architecture Meet, the Results Can Be Wild

By Dwell @dwell
Carrie Mae Weems, Galleria Nazionale D’Arte Moderna - Rome

Carrie Mae Weems, Galleria Nazionale D’Arte Moderna - Rome, Digital C-print  ©Carrie Mae Weems

In her keynote speach at SCAD's deFINE ART festival, artist Carrie Mae Weems looked back on her career, noting that the longer she practices, the more she sees the impact of architecture on her work. From intimate domestic scenes to her pilgrimage to the world's most famous museums, the built environment is often a silent player in her photographs.

The relationship between fine art and design tends to be understood on a continuum. On the one side, the two fields are seen as totally separate and unequal; on the other, they’re inextricably linked. Whether you feel that architecture should be side-by-side with art in museums or that design exists in a world of its own, it’s impossible to ignore the dialogue between them.

At the Savannah College of Art and Design, the deFINE ART exhibition series underscores the impact that art can have on other design disciplines, architecture included.

As SCAD founder and president Paula Wallace puts it, “Architecture, it is often said (particularly by architects), is the mother of all the arts. The principles and elements of art taught and learned at SCAD include rhythm, texture, repetition, form, space, harmony, scale, balance, and more. All of these principles and elements are exemplified in architecture of the highest order.”

The deFINE ART program of lectures, exhibitions, and events—spread over the school’s campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong—centers on a series of exhibitions at the SCAD Museum of Art. The museum, an adaptive reuse project designed by members of the school’s Building Arts faculty, is an active part of the campus. As students pass through it between classes each day, the conversation between disciplines continues.

“Architecture envelops, shelters, presents, and incorporates all art forms, including sculpture, painting, photography, film, performance, installation, projection—and whatever artists will invent in the future,” Wallace says. “Art elevates architecture, and architecture elevates art. SCAD deFINE ART is one of the many ways we encourage our students to seek inspiration in different creative mediums and traditions, enhancing their learning experience as they strengthen their artistic knowledge.”

Click through the slideshow to see highlights from the museum and discover the ways art and architecture influence one another. 

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