This richly illustrated book, created to accompany the traveling exhibition of the same name, provides a fascinating critical overview of Ant Farm, the radical architecture collective that brought us Cadillac Ranch, Media Burn, and The Eternal Frame. Established by several young renegade architects in 1968, Ant Farm was a collaborative art and design group eager to bring to its practice a revolutionary spirit more consistent with the times. Its vision encompassed creations for a nomadic lifestyle, including inflatable structures and radical environments that culminated in projects such as the organically appointed House of the Century and the unrealized aquatic edifice The Dolphin Embassy. Ant Farm 1968-1978 explores the sweeping career of this inspired and inspiring visionary collective as its architectural projects broadened to embrace a range of undertakings that challenged the visual architecture of image, icon, and power.
Constance Lewallen provides an in-depth, anecdotally rich interview with founding members Chip Lord, Doug Michels, and Curtis Schreier. An essay by Michael Sorkin gives the multivalent cultural context for Ant Farm's radical architecture. Steve Seid takes a comprehensive look at Ant Farm's influential videotapes. Caroline Maniaque's "Searching for Energy" details the group's inflatable structures in relationship to contemporaneous architects working in a similar vein. The catalog also includes a substantial excerpt from Chip Lord's 1976 meditation on car culture, with a new epilogue; a graphically playful timeline recounting Ant Farm's essential art projects; and a rich montage of images and ephemera capturing the humor, originality, and prescience of this feisty enterprise.
A joint publication with the Berkeley Art Museum
Foreword: Kevin E. Cosey
Introduction: Constance M. Lewallen
Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, Cars, Dolphins, and Architecture: Michael Sorkin
Searching for Energy: Caroline Maniaque
Tunneling Through the Wasteland: Ant Farm Video: Steve Seid
Interview withAnt Farm: Constance M. Lewallen in Conversation with Chip Lord, Doug Michels, and Curtis Schreier
Ant Farm Timeline: Ant Farm
AUTOMERICA (excerpt): Chip Lord
Friends of Ant Farm
About the Contributors
Constance M. Lewallen is Senior Curator for Exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Steve Seid is Video Curator at the Pacific Film Archive. Chip Lord is Professor and Chair of the Film and Digital Media Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Caroline Maniaque is Lecturer in the History of Architecture at L' École d'Architecture, Lille, France. Michael Sorkin is Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at the City College of New York and a principal of Michael Sorkin Studio.
"Through published projects, museum exhibitions, built works, and video, Ant Farm has continued to question the limits of architectural practice, its purpose, and its consequences. Blurring the line between art, architecture, and environmental activism, the Ant Farmers have consistently shown us new ways of analyzing, engaging, and understanding our world-even if we're left wondering about our future."—David A. Ross, editor of Art in Technological Times
"Ant Farm was a gorgeous god-knows-what: a collective project that straddled architecture and performance art and pioneered video art, that embraced some of the most radical ideas of the 1960s while remaining fond of iconic mainstream America, that was from the Bay Area and the East Coast and Texas, and that was generally as funny as it was smart. Now at last it's adequately documented for the benefit of future generations who should most definitely know about Media Burn and inflatable environments and the ideas behind Cadillac Ranch and Where They Are Now. Buy it today. No home is complete without."—Rebecca Solnit, author of As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art