Buildering: Misbehaving the City is a traveling group exhibition that explores the unsanctioned use of architecture and the urban environment. Fusing the words "building" and "bouldering" (a type of rock climbing performed without harnesses or ropes), "buildering" serves as a metaphor for the creative misuse of built structures to circumvent their intended function. It suggests the possibility of alternative forms of engagement, both physical and psychological — or what Architect magazine columnist Aaron Betsky, reviewing Buildering when it premiered at the Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, called "parkour turned into art."
The collection features an international group of artists engaged with these ideas and includes works by Ivan Argote, Bestué-Vives, Etienne Boulanger, Egle Budvytyte, Michel de Broin, Didier Faustino, Shaun Gladwell, Wiebke Grösch & Frank Metzger, Alex Hartley, Iman Issa, Antal Lakner, Los Carpinteros, Alison Moffett, Pia Rönicke, Monika Sosnowska, Sebastian Stumpf, Kamila Szejnoch, Allard van Hoorn, Lee Walton, Carey Young and Hector Zamora.
The Houston presentation is complemented by Air, Condition, a two-part installation by Abinadi Meza on view through Oct. 29 at 110 Milam and Blaffer Art Museum.
While none of the artists in Buildering is a formal practitioner of parkour — the French term for a worldwide movement that turns the cityscape into a readymade obstacle course — their work embodies the spirit of its followers as they perform its expansive political capacity. Buildering is not about anarchism or overthrow, but about a romantic activism that re-asserts the strange, unwieldy, beautifully inefficient presence of the human body (back) into built space.
On view through Dec. 6.