Terence Gower: Havana Case Study
September 12, 2017 – January 26, 2018
Havana Case Study was the second in a series of installations that use American diplomatic architecture as a lens through which to analyze US international relations. Based on extensive research in Havana and in US archives, the exhibition examined the US embassy program’s attempt to represent the aspirations of the government and its foreign policy through architecture, and explored how both the function and meaning of embassy buildings have been altered by the US and host governments over the course of their existence. The centerpiece of the exhibition imagined a comprehensive architectural exhibition on the embassy building, as presented in the late 1950s, at the height of the modernization and expansion of Havana. On an enormous tabletop platform at the center of the gallery, the artist framed details from this period in a complex display of architectural models, photographs, and archival documents, and overlaid these views with more recent photographs and newspaper clippings that report on the many uses the building has served—mostly for propaganda purposes—since the Cuban revolution. Installed on the terrace outdoors, Gower’s monumental sculpture Balcony (2016) was a 1:1 scale outline of the ambassador’s balcony—a symbol of diplomatic stalemate and its political and economic fallout. In the rawness of its five interchangeable sections, the sculpture assumed an ambiguous appearance: was it a remnant of a bygone era, or was it under construction, soon to be hoisted triumphantly into place?
Curated by Jacob Proctor
"Exhibition studies U.S. international relations through architecture," UChicago News, October 26, 2017.
"Diplomacy by Design," New City, October 13, 2017.
"A Period of (Economic) Optimism: Terence Gower // Havana Case Study," The Seen, September 12, 2017.