This website is an online archive of the work of Terence Gower, a visual artist based in New York City. The Projects archive can be searched two ways: By Medium and by Year. A small selection of work from the 1990s is also documented on this site. Each Project page features a short statement, documentation, and links to selected texts and online sources related to the work. Terence Gower is represented by LABOR, Mexico City and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. This website was designed by Nora Cristea.
I work on a number of bodies of work at once, each developed over several years. In the past decade my work has focused on a critical re-reading of the modern movement and its utopian bent. A desire to reexamine the notion of progress—a term corrupted by the excesses of technological modernism—has fueled my research on the post-war period and has led to a search for models from the past that might still be relevant today.
I have done extensive work about modern architecture in Mexico, the United States and Canada. I am especially interested in the question of how buildings signify beyond their function: How do embassy buildings represent democracy (a question I explore in Baghdad Case Study); how do public housing complexes represent government activism (the subject of the installations Grand Ensemble and Tlatelolcona); or how does the vocabulary of functionalism represent the notion of progress (Polytechnic and Functionalism).
I am interested in how non-representational forms can convey meaning. Abstract forms can communicate abstract ideas more effectively than representational or pictorial forms, and abstract art can be a political medium. My recent work on abstract art (Display Modern [Hepworth], Noguchi Galaxy) compliments my earlier research on architectural form.
I work in many media, including video, sculpture, drawing, photography, and architecture. My recent projects can be thought of as curatorial installations. I am often invited to do readings of collections and archives and the resulting projects combine video, sculpture, and archival material in large museum installations (Public Spirit at the Hirshhorn Museum, Display Nature at Gävle Konstcentrum). This process has also led to invitations from museums to create an architectural context for large group exhibitions with the goal of communicating the curator’s thesis through the form of the exhibition.
Terence Gower was born in British Columbia, Canada. He studied at Emily Carr College, spent the early years of his practice in Vancouver, Cologne, and Mexico City and has continued to show widely internationally. He has been based in New York City since 1995 where he has shown at PS1, New Museum, Queens Museum and many commercial and non-profit galleries. Internationally he has shown recently at Institut d’Art Contemporain Villurbaine, Lyon; MACBA, Barcelona; Tensta Konsthal, Stockholm; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; MAC, Santiago, Chile; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; MUSAC, León, Spain; and Audain Gallery, Vancouver. He has participated in the Mercosul and Havana Biennials. His work on the modern movement in Mexico was the subject of a major solo exhibition, Ciudad Moderna, at the Laboratorio Arte Alameda in 2005. His 2009 solo exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC treated the history of that institution.
Gower has built four pavilions: the Bicycle Pavilion for the Colección Jumex, Mexico City; the Projection Pavilion for Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City; the Workshop Pavilion for MUSAC, León, Spain; and SuperPuesto for the Bronx Museum, in New York City. A new public commission from the New York School Construction Authority, was recently installed in Queens, New York and a major new commission from the Region Rhône-Alpes will be inaugurated in Saint-Genis Pouilly, France in spring 2017.
There are two monographs on Terence Gower’s work: Ciudad Moderna: Terence Gower Videos (Turner Press, Mexico City, 2006) and Display Architecture: Terence Gower Pavilions (Navado Press, Berlin, 2008). Gower’s artwork has been featured in the books Between Walls and Windows: Architektur und Ideologie (Hatje Cantz/HKW), The Air is Blue (Trilce), Revisiting the Glass House (Yale University Press), Heimat Moderne (Galerie für Zeitgennössisches Kunst, Leipzig), and Made in Mexico (ICA, Boston). Articles and reviews on Gower’s work have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, Artforum, Flash Art, Art Press, Art Nexus, Time Out, The Village Voice, Proceso, Arquine, Canadian Architect, Dwell, and others.
He has written the book Havana Case Study (Neubauer Collegium, Chicago) and has coauthored the book Appendices, Illustrations and Notes (with Monica de la Torre) for Smart Art Press, Los Angeles, and has written articles for Domus Mexico, Bomb, Roulotte, On Site, and Modern Painters magazines. Cabinet and the Archives of American Art Journal have both commissioned artist’s projects from him.
His videos have been programmed at SMBA/Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Auditorium INA (Paris), Grazer Kunstverein (Graz, Austria), Museo Nacional Reina Sofia (Madrid), UCLA Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), New Museum (New York), Espai d’Art Contemporani de Castelló (Spain), Fundación Telefonica and Fundación Proa (Buenos Aires), Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, and at film festivals in Florence, Rotterdam, New York, Chicago, Melbourne, Buenos Aires, and Vladivostok.
Gower has been invited to curate exhibitions at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC (Spans), Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City (Public Practice / Private Lives), el Museo del Barrio, New York (The Conceptual Trend), el Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico (Pasaje Iturbide), Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (The Counterfeit Subject), and the San Francisco Art Institute (Tendencies). He created the exhibition architecture for The Puppet Show at ICA Philadelphia, for Beatriz Gonzalez at CAPC, Bordeaux, and for El Grito at MUSAC, Léon, Spain.
He has given public lectures at universities and museums in Vienna, Malmö, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Riga, Lyon, Vancouver, Mexico City, Havana, Buenos Aires, New York, Washington, New Haven, Cambridge, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other cities in the US.
Gower has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, Smithsonian Artists Research Fellowship, Canada Council Long Term Grant; Gothenburg University Research Fellowship; NYSCA Architecture, Planning & Design Project Award, Graham Foundation Fellowship, Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant, Peter Norton Family Foundation Grant, World Views Studios Residency (WTC, New York), Cité des Arts Fellowship (Paris), Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship (Genoa), and a fellowship to the Residencia Internacional de Artistas en Argentina (Buenos Aires).
Works by Terence Gower can be found in the following collections: National Gallery of Canada, Museo de Art Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, New York, Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Chicago, Region Rhône-Alpes, France, Museu de Arte do Rio, Brazil, Colección Jumex, Peter Norton Collection, Colección Juan Yarur, Queens Museum, Mauro Herlizka Collection, Gävle Municipal Collection, New York City Department of Education, and many private collections.