April 29–July 30, 2011
Opening Reception: April 29, 6pm–9pm
Artist Talk: Design Charrettes, April 28–July 28, 4pm–6pm
Bemis Gardens is an exhibition and design laboratory that will transform the Bemis Center's exterior into a public art site and urban garden, and speculate on the urban condition of the contemporary art center and its relationship with downtown Omaha. In the midst of the Building | Bemis construction process, a project that will result in a significant expansion of the artist-in-residence program, renovated fabrication facilities and a restored front dock — this exhibition and project series serves to initiate a holistic reconsideration of the Center’s land use and exterior relationships with the public.
In recent years, artists, architects, ecologists and social designers of all stripes have formed new hybrids between food production and social space, urban ecologies and public art, forgotten space and material ingenuity, stormwater reclamation and public spectacle. Responding to these emergent possibilities and to the Bemis Center’s physical rehabilitation, Bemis Gardens aims to build model ecological and aesthetic relationships with the city.
Bemis Gardens is structured as an open laboratory and interactive exhibition. Throughout its three month run the exhibition will remain in flux — between the gallery and its exterior, between design process and fabrication, between representation of completed projects and installation of site-specific works. During the exhibition, renovation of the front dock will establish a Place for public sculpture, perennial gardens and a shifting social platform.
The Bemis Center will host a weekly series of charrettes and dialogues throughout the exhibition that will convene professionals from diverse fields to consider macro urban land use futures and speculate on specific possibilities for the Bemis Center’s full site. The charrettes are intended as collaborative dialogues and will be formalized as actionable proposals. This process will take place in the gallery and be presented for the public in real-time through lectures, renderings and fabricated prototypes.
Participants: el dorado architects, Peter Goché, Min | Day + FACT, Michael Beitz, Ruth Dusseault, SIMPARCH, Colin C. Smith, Studiomama / Nina Tolstrup, Anne Trumble, Sean R. Ward, James Woodfill
Bemis Gardens is curated by Hesse McGraw, Bemis Center chief curator.
Green and Gold at the Bemis: Q&A with Hesse McGraw by Will Simons, courtesy of Omahype, April 27
Exhibitions Presenting Sponsor: Omaha Steaks
Bemis Gardens Sponsor: Carol Gendler | Marathon Realty
Sponsored by: AIA Omaha, Chris Headley | OmahaComputerHelp.com, Clark Creative Group, Davis Erection and Crane Rental & Rigging, Echo Tech, Justin V. Allen Design + Development, Iowa State University Department of Architecture, Larry Gawel Photography, Min | Day, Nebraska Arts Council, Quail Distributing, Sherwin Williams, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Upstream Brewing Company, Visions Custom Framing and Warren Distribution