Fifty years may now be an obligatory cornerstone in life, but five decades in business is still truly a marvel. Architect Michael Graves is one of few who can celebrate that professional milestone, and is justly the subject of a retrospective now running at Grounds for Sculpture, a 42-acre not-for-profit sculpture park located in Hamilton, New Jersey. 'Past as Prologue' not only presents some of Graves' most seminal architecture and product design work, but also features never-seen-before sketches, drawings and artwork that chart his creative evolution right up to present day.
Taking over several buildings in the park, as well as occupying its grounds, 'Past as Prologue' lovingly juxtaposes Graves' architectural and design accomplishments with unexpected works of art. From intricately detailed models of Denver Central Library (1994) to his iconic 1984 tea kettle for Alessi and his range of bowls for Stuben Glass, Graves' breadth is remarkable. In addition to products, models and furniture, the exhibition offers a rare insight into Graves' working process with sketches of recognisable projects in progress, including one of Taiwan's National Museum of Prehistory.
Visitors can also get an in-depth look at the Linear City project, which Graves worked on together with architect Peter Eisenman back in the 1960s, long before either architect had gained recognition. The series of pencil and pastel sketches articulate an urban plan comprised of two parallel strips, one for industry and the other for homes, retail and services. 'Reminiscing over 50 years of projects is wonderful for me, but I am most excited about how the future of our practice is evolving from the energetic collaboration of our disciplines,' Graves said.
There's plenty of Graves on view in New York City too; Studio Vendome is in the midst of showing a collection of his landscape and still life paintings. Curated by Jane Adlin, who was an associate curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the exhibition comprises over 60 works that highlight Graves' favoured places, such as idyllic countryside vistas and the Mausoleum of Helena in Rome, as well as intimate still life compositions - a true reflection of the places and spaces he once inhabited. Together, both shows form a holistic tribute to one deeply creative soul.