April 24 - September 14, 2014
Pérez Art Museum Miami presents Inverted Retrograde Theme, USA (House for a Songbird), a large-scale installation from 2002 that traces the paradoxes of modernist architecture in the Caribbean. This recent acquisition, by conceptual artist Simon Starling (b.1967), references a housing project in Puerto Rico which was designed by Austrian architect Simon Schmiderer (1911-2001) in the 1960s. Inspired by modernist musician Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951) , Schmiderer developed a series of houses made of building blocks without doors or windows to further integrate the outside and inside spaces, thus pushing forward his utopian ideals throughout his plan. Ironically, the rise of crime in the 1970s forced locals to add elaborate barriers onto Schmiderer’s designs. In Inverted Retrograde Theme, USA, Simon Starling recreates two of the existing homes on a smaller scale and inverts them like birdcages; these models sit atop tree trunks that extend from the gallery’s floor. Starling’s work exemplifies an ironic interpretation of how modern utopian notions failed when confronted with reality, and creates a whimsical inverted utopia.