Living Monuments: New Works by Michal Nachmany
Commissioned Work for the Columbia University Faculty House
This series of ten artworks celebrates the inauguration of Columbia University’s new Manhattanville Urban Campus, while paying a tribute to the existing Morningside Heights Campus and to Manhattan’s Riverside Park landmarks and history.
Five of the artworks on display here were commissioned by Columbia University for display at the Columbia University Faculty House. They were created by Michal Nachmany in the summer of 2017 using a technique of multilayered photo lithography and collage that incorporates original documents and historical images of the neighborhood. These five commissioned work are: Manhattanville Urban Campus I, Manhattanville Urban Campus II, Butler Library, Alma Mater, and St. Paul’s Chapel. The other pieces on display were created by Nachmany in 2016 as part of her “America The Beautiful” series. These works feature landmarks from Riverside Park, Morningside Heights, and the surrounding neighborhoods.
About Columbia University’s New Manhattanville Urban Campus
The design of the new campus is informed by its historic New York City location, embracing the northern Manhattan street grid and the surrounding community creating a campus enriched by West Harlem and interconnected with the cultural, artistic and economic life of adjoining neighborhoods. Northern Manhattan has been Columbia's home for 120 years, and the university’s commitment to a shared future drove the development of a Manhattanville campus plan by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The new campus includes more than 17 acres of new construction, reclaimed landmarks, and emerging community spaces in a onetime industrial area that in recent decades has been largely characterized by warehouses, parking lots and garages.
Nachmany art series, Living Monuments, where the old and the new are in an intimate dialogue, mirrors Renzo Piano’s new campus design vision, as suggested in his essay’s excerpts, “How should urban universities, in particular, relate physically to their host cities?... How do you create a campus that projects a sense of dignity and trustworthiness without being guarded? We’ve attempted to do this in Manhattanville by designing a campus master plan that calls for a radical degree of openness, transparency, and accessibility. … There is no frontier between the buildings, the city, and the street. If buildings are to be loved and embraced, they cannot be selfish.”