Richard Nonas: Agriculture

About the Exhibition

Constructed of granite, limestone, and brownstone, Agriculture by Richard Nonas (b.1936, New York City, NY) is reminiscent of prehistoric ruins such as those of ancient post-and-lintel structures. Four 85-foot-long segments of stone (square edged, approximately 6 x 12 inches) are placed in the center of the 200-foot-diameter pavilion. Shorter segments of stone (averaging 3 1/2 feet in length) lean against these four main sections. The shorter segments are placed perpendicular to the main sections and are spaced at varying intervals along the length of each row.

The New York State Pavilion, a remnant of the 1964-65 World’s Fair, was designed by Philip Johnson and Richard Foster. At the time of the building’s construction, its tubular, concrete support elements, overall emphasis on circular form, and translucent, cable-suspended roof represented advanced architectural and technological concepts. Today, they contribute to the pavilion’s retro-futuristic look. The floor features a map of New York State executed in colored tiles but—due to a lack of maintenance—weeds have sprouted through the floor. In fact, much of the building is in disrepair and its present state holds great appeal for Nonas, who describes it as “a ruin of the future.” He was attracted to the idea of his piece, which “resonates with a sense of the past and the remains of monolithic buildings,” as it would appear juxtaposed against and set within “the ruins of an icon of modern architecture.”



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