The Idea of Big

Curated by Stephen Wierzbowski and Laurel Bradley

Artists: Brad Angelini, Darcy Bonner, John Clark, Jacqueline Clawson, Howard Decker, Victor Dziekiewicz, Paul Florian, Daniel Garber, Richard Gibbons, Janet Goodman/James Lieberman, Julie Hacker, Ray Hartshorne, Aki Knezevic, Tannys Langdon, Jill Lerner, Sam Marts, Andrew Metter/Jim Law, Jordan Moser, Anders Nereim, Peter Noone, James Plunkard, Alan Schechtman, Randy Shear, Rael Slutsky, Peggy Smolka, Richard Solomon, Darryl Strouse, John Syvertsen, Dario Tainer, Leslie Ventsch, Nick Weingarten/Walt Bransford, Daniel Wheeler, Jan Yoder, and Charles Young

The Idea of Big highlights scale changes inherent in the design process by using the latest photocopier technology. Curated by Stephen Wierzbowski, of Florian-Wierzbowski Architecture, and Laurel Bradley, Director of Gallery 400, the exhibition featured architectural drawings in a vertical format, enlarged to nine feet by three feet using the Xerox 2080 process. These were installed in Gallery 400 juxtaposed with a model of the gallery interior, in which minutely proportioned reductions of the original renderings were displayed. The drawings exhibited in The Idea of Big were done by thirty-seven Chicago architects with “new practices:” Brad Angelini, Darcy Bonner, John Clark, Jacqueline Clawson, Howard Decker, Victor Dziekiewicz, Paul Florian, Daniel Garber, Richard Gibbons, Janet Goodman/James Lieberman, Julie Hacker, Ray Hartshorne, Aki Knezevic, Tannys Langdon, Jill Lerner, Sam Marts, Andrew Metter/Jim Law, Jordan Moser, Anders Nereim, Peter Noone, James Plunkard, Alan Schechtman, Randy Shear, Rael Slutsky, Peggy Smolka, Richard Solomon, Darryl Strouse, John Syvertsen, Dario Tainer, Leslie Ventsch, Nick Weingarten/Walt Bransford, Daniel Wheeler, Jan Yoder, and Charles Young.

The architectural design process involves numerous shifts in scale between conception and execution. To clarify structural details, an architect may render small elements very large; architectural models present very big forms on a drastically reduced scale; a building may be drawn on a small sheet for convenience and then reproduced at a larger scale. Drawings in The Idea of Big treated a wide range of subjects, from buildings and towers to furniture, architectural fragments and elements to purely abstract conceptual renderings. Architects had the option of coloring and making three-dimensional the enlarged drawings.