SMOCA Catalog: The City Is Nature

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In Fall of 2017, the exhibition titled “Repositioning Paolo Soleri: The City is Nature” curated by Claire Carter at SMoCA produced a retrospective exhibition of seminal American artist and architect Paolo Soleri (1919 – 2013). Over his sixty-year career, Soleri explored thousands of possibilities for the urban built environment in drawings, architectural models, sketchbooks, sculptures, prints and photographs.

His pioneering idea “arcology,” or the fusion of architecture and ecology, proved prescient in its ties to current issues about sustainable cities, suburban sprawl, climate change, renewable energy and water shortages. The City Is Nature spans the breadth of Soleri’s ideas and practice, bringing together elements from his built and unbuilt residences, bridges, dams, cities and transportation systems. In addition to original drawings, models and sketchbooks, the exhibition surveys the artist’s earliest ceramic and bronze artisan crafts, as well as fabric designs and silkscreens. This ground-breaking exhibition represents the largest collection of original works by Soleri presented in North America since1971. Large scroll drawings—some over 30 feet long—will be presented for the first time since their conservation in 2005.

The exhibition also investigates Soleri’s personal engagement with the art and architecture of his time; the widespread recognition of his work by museums, scholars and curators; his relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright; and his influence on the American counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. It will also be the first to contextualize the artisan craft program that continues to underwrite the expenses of maintaining Cosanti and Arcosanti—two experimental communities Soleri built in the Arizona desert.

Repositioning Paolo Soleri: The City is Nature curated by Claire C. Carter with essay by Larry Busbea, Garth Johnson and Jonathon Keats

Format: Hardcover, 13′′ x 9.5′′, 236 pages
Publisher: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Publication Date: 2017
Edition Description: First Edition
ISBN: 978-0-9798936-7-4