DESIGNERS OF THE PARRISH ART MUSEUM FROM HERZOG & DE MEURON
AND ARTIST HANK WILLIS THOMAS SHARE INSIGHTS
ON THE PURPOSE-BUILT STRUCTURE FROM THEIR UNIQUE PERSPECTIVES
The conversation, on Saturday, September 3,
celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Museum
Herzog & de Meuron Studio Director USA Philip Schmerbeck, and Senior Partner Ascan Mergenthaler ©Herzog & de Meuron; Artist Hank Willis Thomas. Photo Andrea Blanch.
WATER MILL, 8/18/2022—In celebration of its 10th anniversary in Water Mill, the Parrish Art Museum is hosting a conversation between Ascan Mergenthaler and Philip Schmerbeck of Herzog & de Meuron, and Hank Willis Thomas, presenting artist and co-curator of Another Justice: US is Them–Hank Willis Thomas | For Freedoms. Moderated by Museum Executive Director Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, who holds a Ph.D. in architecture, the discussion will explore the relationship between the Museum’s design from the architects’ perspective, as well as from the viewpoint of an artist curating and exhibiting work in the space.
The event, on Saturday, September 3 at 3 pm, is open to the public and will take place on the Museum’s Terrace, weather permitting (alternative location: Lichtenstein Theater).
Tickets: $12 | Free for Members.
Herzog & de Meuron’s design of the Museum integrates architecture and landscape in a plan that both respects and reflects the singular natural beauty and rich artistic legacy of Long Island’s East End. Sited on a 14-acre meadow of indigenous grasses that refers to the natural landscape of the region, the purpose-built structure suggests the vernacular architecture of sheds and barns that for generations doubled as artist workspaces. The designers used the artist’s studio as a starting point for a single gallery space by distilling the studio’s proportions and adopting its simple house section.
The siting of the building was determined by the placement of north-facing skylights in the galleries—the Parrish is one of the few museums in the United States that incorporates natural light. The east-west orientation, diagonal within the site, generates dramatically changing perspective views of the building and further emphasizes the building’s extreme yet simple proportions.
The construction of the Museum reflects readily accessible materials and local building methods. The exterior concrete walls function as long bookends to the overall building form, while their grand scale is tempered with a continuous bench allowing visitors to experience the landscape. Large overhangs running the full length of the building provide shelter for the Museum’s outdoor porches and terraces.
In the exhibition Another Justice: US is Them, on view through November 6, Thomas along with other featured artists adopt dynamic and responsive approaches to activate the full volume of the architectural space. Thomas’s wall-sized works made from deconstructed flags envelop the gallery space in fabric. In the Spine, Christine Sun Kim creates an immersive pathway between the galleries with bold, vibrant notations from the American Sign Language. Outdoors on the building exterior and grounds, Thomas activates the museum’s southern-facing façade with a 55-foot neon sign clearly visible from the highway. Muna Malik’s 20-foot long mirrored acrylic boat sited in the Museum’s Meadow entices visitors to venture into and explore the landscape.
Herzog & de Meuron Senior Partner Ascan Mergenthaler is in charge of projects in Europe, Asia, and the Americas and has led the realization of the de Young Museum in San Francisco; the Parrish Art Museum on Long Island, New York; the Tate Modern Project in London; the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford; the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg; 56 Leonard Street in New York City; and Tai Kwun, Centre for Heritage & Arts; as well as M+, a cultural center for 20th and 21st century art, design, architecture, and the moving image in Hong Kong. He is currently working on several high-profile projects, such as the Neue Nationalgalerie—Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts in Berlin; and Triangle in Paris—the first high-rise since Tour Montparnasse—that will significantly contribute to the Parisian skyline. Mergenthaler first joined Herzog & de Meuron as an intern in 1993. After completing his studies at Stuttgart University and The Bartlett, University College London, he became an architect at Herzog & de Meuron in 1998 and Partner in 2004.
Philip Schmerbeck is Studio Director USA at Herzog & de Meuron. He began his collaboration with the firm in Basel in 2007 and became an Associate in 2011. After relocating to the New York office in 2008, he became project manager in charge of the Parrish Art Museum through its completion in 2012. Schmerbeck has maintained oversight of a diverse range of U.S. projects as Project Director, including the completion of 215 Chrystie (Public Hotel) and 160 Leroy Street in NYC. He is currently overseeing the Powerhouse Arts project, a contemporary arts fabrication center nearing completion in Brooklyn, New York, and the Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tennessee. He became Studio Director USA in 2022. Schmerbeck studied Architecture at Mississippi State University, Jackson, Mississippi, and graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree.
Hank Willis Thomas
Hank Willis Thomas (b. 1976, Plainfield, NJ; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including the International Center of Photography, New York; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Musée du quai Branly, Paris; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Netherlands. Thomas holds a B.F.A. from New York University, New York, NY (1998) and an M.A./M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2004). He received honorary doctorates from the Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, MD and the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, Portland, ME in 2017.
Parrish Art Museum
Inspired by the natural setting and artistic life of Long Island’s East End, the Parrish Art Museum illuminates the creative process and how art and artists transform our experiences and understanding of the world and how we live in it. The Museum fosters connections among individuals, art, and artists through care and interpretation of the collection, presentation of exhibitions, publications, educational initiatives, programs, and artists-in-residence. The Parrish is a center for cultural engagement, an inspiration and destination for the region, the nation, and the world.
Herzog & De Meuron
Established in Basel, Switzerland, in 1978, Herzog & de Meuron is a partnership led by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron together with Senior Partners Christine Binswanger, Ascan Mergenthaler, Stefan Marbach, Esther Zumsteg, and Jason Frantzen. An international team of over 500 collaborators including the two Founders, five Senior Partners, ten Partners, and 48 Associates work on projects across Europe, the Americas and Asia. The main office in Basel is supported by studios in Berlin and Munich in Germany; in London, UK; in New York and San Francisco in the U.S; in Hong Kong; and by site offices in Copenhagen and Paris.
Another Justice: US is Them–Hank Willis Thomas | For Freedoms
Hank Willis Thomas (a conceptual artist working with themes related to identity, commodity, media, and popular culture), and For Freedoms (the artist coalition he co-founded to model and increase creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action) were invited to create an exhibition specifically for the Parrish. On view in the galleries, outdoors on the Museum grounds, and as digital billboards on the Shinnecock Monuments on Sunrise Highway, Another Justice: US is Them includes nearly 30 works by 12 contemporary artists in mixed media, sculpture, site-specific installation, wall painting, and photography. The exhibition is a call to the community to reconvene, and reconsider what justice can be in a time of imbalance. Artists include Zoë Buckman, Pamela Council, Jeremy Dennis, Jeffrey Gibson, Eric Gottesman, Christine Sun Kim, Muna Malik, Joiri Minaya, Koyoltzintli Miranda-Rivadeneira, Kambui Olujimi, Hank Willis Thomas, and Marie Watt. Another Justice: US is Them is organized by Corinne Erni, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects, with support from Brianna Hernández, Curatorial Fellow, and is co-curated by Hank Willis Thomas and Carly Fischer.
In Celebration of the Museum’s 10th Anniversary, please visit these AAQ portfolios:
Parrish Art: 10th Year / Portfolio 1: Construction + Art Installations / link
Parrish Art: 10th Year / Portfolio 2: Museum Opens / Behind the Scenes / link
Parrish Art: 10th Year / Portfolio 2: Construction Photos, 2010 – 2012 / Prints for Sale / link
Parrish Art Museum construction photographs © Jeff Heatley.
AAQ / Resource: Ben Krupinski Builder