Portrait of artist Barbara Kasten

Discoveries in the Abstract

John Hill
23. August 2023
Photo: Screenshot

Known for colorful photograms made with fluorescent Plexiglas, Kasten can be lumped in with other artists whom architects have an affinity for, such as Gordon Matta-Clark, Robert Irwin, and Donald Judd. Kasten admits in the film that growing up in Chicago — an architectural city par excellence — “affected how I constructed things. And I think that it always reflected in the way I put things together.” But, she continues, “I never thought of becoming an architect.” Still, Kasten's recent artworks often take on names with architectural connotations ("Plan," “Elevation,” “Corners”) and she has often worked directly with capital-A architecture, as in the “Architectural Sites” series from the 1980s that she discusses in the film. That series is one of the many highlights in her work — and a highlight of this excellent portrait of the artist.

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