HOW WE USE ART IN ARCHITECTURE
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Street New York No.1, Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)
Artist are constantly searching for new ways to achieve what seems impossible to others, never stopping or trying known techniques or inventing more in order to capture what in their imagination has been depicted. This is what happened to Georgia O'Keeffe when settled in New York City. For the first few months she lived in her studio on 58th Street, but in November 1925 she moved with her Husband to an apartment in the newly-built Shelton Hotel on Lexington Avenue. Their home was on the 28th floor, which proved a remarkable experience for O'Keeffe.
“I have never lived so high before, and was so excited that I began talking about trying to paint New York. Of course, I was told that it was an impossible idea-even the men had not done too well with it."
O'Keeffe pictures of the city are among her finest work, and they come closer than any of her other paintings to capturing the spirit of the Art Deco style. She painted a number of sweeping panoramas, reproducing the spectacular view from her apartment, however the most successful pictures were painted at street level. These convey the sheer scale of the skyscrapers by adopting a snail's eye view of the scene. This technique exaggerates both the length and the height of the buildings, giving the viewer the impression of passing through a steep gorge. O'Keeffe adds to this effect by squeezing the sky, the very epitome of boundless space into a narrow, confined strip of canvas.
Today we can comment that the relationship between art and architecture is one that has influenced designers and artists for centuries. Finding this balance needs to be right, and the process can be challenging.
In this modern times we are able to find and create visually stunning environments by integrating art and its history permitting architects and designers to reflect in the evolution of the space that we still have available to transformed. Just like O'Keeffe experiencing the magnificent New York City views from a building that was the benchmark for skyscrapers going forward.
The 1924 Shelton Hotel
49th and Lexington NY
The Hotel received awards from the Architectural League of New York and the American Institute of Architects.
The New York Times architecture critics called it “A stately, breath-taking building,” upon its opening and Commonweal Magazine’sLewis Mumford said it was “buoyant, mobile, serene, like a Zeppelin under a clear sky.”