H+U+D Faculty Member Michelle Lopez’s exhibition “Ballast & Barricades” on view at the ICA


Michelle Lopez, H+U+D Faculty Member and Assistant Professor in Penn’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design, has created a site-specific installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art, called “Ballast & Barricades,” which was recently featured in Penn Today. Click here for the link.

The installation features construction-derived materials, like steel pipes, chain-link fencing, wooden barricades, and bright orange ropes, that are connected to and precariously counter-balanced by a 1,000-pound piece of a building salvaged from a teardown in Northeast Philadelphia. Lopez pushes these industrial materials to their limits while simultaneously using them to probe socio-political questions relating to nationalism, patriotism, and authoritarianism.

As Alex Klein, Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE’60) Curator at the ICA, says: “In Ballast & Barricades Michelle Lopez employs a formal, fragmented architectural language to critique symbols of nationalism, power, and consumption. Known for her sculptural works that recast histories of minimalism and everyday objects through a feminist lens, in this exhibition Lopez brings together a selection of recent sculptures alongside a monumental, site-specific installation that creates a suspended cityscape reduced to rubble. Here, blockades, borders, flags, and natural elements bleed together while remnants of construction sites and scaffolding create a delicate system of counterweights and counterbalances—all meticulously crafted by hand. For Lopez, this sculptural terrain is suggestive of an ongoing history of bodies and violence in the absence of figuration. It is an urban landscape fabricated out of the material remains of crisis, teetering on the brink of collapse.”

The exhibition is on view until May 10, 2019. For more information, please visit the ICA website here.