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Art Faire

Art Basel will present a new Messeplatz installation by Oscar Tuazon in Basel this June

Art Faire

For the duration of Art Basel, ‘Zome Alloy’, a new structure by Los Angeles-based artist Oscar Tuazon, will be installed on Messeplatz in Basel. An adaptation of Steve Baer's ‘Zome House’ (1972), the architectural structure will house a series of events throughout the week – a second version of the 'Alloy Conference' that was held in 1969.

‘Zome Alloy’ is a lightweight structural wood shell, designed to accommodate the crowds of people that visit the fair and engage them in the question of what a house can be. Open along the entire south-facing facade, the pavilion takes the form of a single-family home opened to the public. Partially clad in aluminum, the structure is de-mountable and can be seen as an architectural system ready to go into production – a demonstration ‘zome’. The ‘zome’ system produces volumes that, unlike geodesic structures, can be stretched and elongated.

With this new work, Oscar Tuazon (b. 1975, Seattle) builds on the work of inventor, solar engineer and architect Steve Baer (b. 1938, Los Angeles). After studying physics and mathematics at ETH Zurich, Baer moved to Albuquerque, becoming one of the architects of Drop City, often referred to as the first hippie commune. In 1968 Baer published Dome Cookbook, which describes the mathematical system for creating stretchable polyhedrons, or zonohedra.

In 1971, Steve Baer and his wife Holly Baer built a zome home for themselves, a cluster of 11 fused volumes with a floor area of 215 square meters organized in a U-shape around an east-facing courtyard, outside Corrales, New Mexico, where they live today. The shell of the structure consists of lightweight honeycomb panels clad in light-reflecting aluminum. The clustered, stretched organic forms can be seen as an analog precedent for much of the digitally generated fluid surfaces of contemporary architecture, though the house was built entirely by hand. The house is also an early example of a passive solar- energy system and served as a laboratory and testing ground for Baer’s innovative work in passive solar technologies. Zomeworks, founded and operated by the Baers, continues to be a leader in this field.

Tuazon’s ‘Zome Alloy’ is the zome stripped down to the bones, an updated version of the original Baer house using contemporary technology. Using a 3D survey of the Baer house, Tuazon developed a structural panel system that will be manufactured in Switzerland using robotic cutting and assembly technology.

During Art Basel the installation will host the second Alloy Conference. The first Alloy Conference, organized by Steve Baer, took place near La Luz, New Mexico in 1969 with participants from nearby communes and included contributions from Steve Durkee, Lloyd Kahn, Peter Rabbit, and Stewart Brand on energy, structure, materials and alternative building systems. The second edition of the conference, organized by Tuazon, will bring together individuals experimenting at the forefront of engineering and architecture to address those same questions today.

About Oscar Tuazon
Oscar Tuazon is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. Tuazon is represented by Galerie Chantal Crousel, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Maccarone, dépendance, and Standard (Oslo). Recent solo exhibitions include projects at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Le Consortium, Dijon; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Institute of Contemporary Art, London; Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland; and the Public Art Fund, New York. His work has been included in the Whitney Biennial and the 54th Venice Biennale. Un Pont, a permanent work commissioned by Les Nouveaux commanditaires, is currently being built in Valdoie, France.

About Steve Baer
In 1960 Steve Baer was stationed with the US army in Germany for three years. After discharge from the army, he and his wife, Holly, settled in Zurich, Switzerland, where he worked as a welder and attended Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, studying mathematics. Here he became interested in the possibilities of building innovative structures using polyhedra (non-rectangular polyhedrons).

Baer and his wife moved back to the United States, settling in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Baer initially worked as a welder of trailer frames for the Fruehauf Trailer Services company. He soon went into business by founding a small company called Zomeworks with Barry Hickman and Ed Heinz. The partners experimented with constructing buildings of unusual geometries that they came to call ‘zomes’, often using heavy sheet metal as the main exterior material. Some of the earliest experiments were carried out in cooperation with members of the communities Drop City and Manara Nueva.

Steve Baer was a key organizer of an important grassroots Western-American conference, Alloy, focusing on these matters. Because the conference was spotlighted in the Whole Earth Catalog, Baer and Zomeworks became better known among solar enthusiasts in the United States. Baer also was known as the author of Dome Cookbook and Zome Primer.

  • 02.05.2016
    Presse »
    MCH Messe Schweiz »

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 3pm to 8pm (by invitation only)
    Public Days
    Thursday, June 16, 2016, 11am to 7pm
    Friday, June 17, 2016, 11am to 7pm
    Saturday, June 18, 2016, 11am to 7pm
    Sunday, June 19, 2016, 11am to 7pm

    Ticket Options* Day Ticket: CHF 48
    Evening Ticket, after 5 pm: CHF 25
    Two-Day Ticket: CHF 80

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