Competition: US & Canada
As the two monographs on Terence Gower, Ciudad Moderna: Terence Gower Videos (2006) and Display Architecture: Terence Gower Pavilions (2008), make clear, the artist seeks to illuminate “the representational function of architecture,” as he describes it, through his videos, installations, and sculptures.
His project during his Guggenheim Fellowship term is a prime example of this focus. In his Embassies Project, the latest in his series of works on mid twentieth-century public architecture, he will illustrate how embassies were actually a type of propaganda, consciously designed to reflect the image the United States government wanted to project of itself and America. The classical designs of public buildings in the early decades of the twentieth century, meant to underline America’s democratic structure by evoking the architecture of democracy’s birthplace, gave way in the late 1940s to more welcoming designs with inviting public spaces. In fact, the Office of Foreign Building Operations (FBO), a branch of the U.S. State Department, explicitly directed that embassy architecture convey “the notion that the U.S. is an open, dynamic and cooperative modern country.” Mr. Gower plans a series of wall installations made up of photographs, graphics, and sculptural elements that will pay homage to the more enlightened aspects of post-war embassy design and will show how embassy buildings continue to express fluctuations in U.S. public ideology.
Well known for his intensive research in preparation for his various projects, Mr. Gower is also a writer and educator. He is the coauthor (with Monica de la Torre) of Appendices, Illustrations and Notes (Smart Art Press, 1999), has contributed articles to Bomb, Roulette, and Modern Painters, and has lectured at universities and museums around the world.
His work is in the permanent collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.); the Peter Norton Collection (New York and Los Angeles); the Queens Museum and Carlos Brillembourg (both in New York); Patrick Kullenberg (New York and Stockholm); and the Junex, Peñafiel, and Haydee Rovirosa collections (all in Mexico City); and the Mauro Herlitzka Collection (Buenos Aires).
In addition to his Guggenheim Fellowship, his honors include fellowships from the Smithsonian Artists Research program, Graham Foundation, Cité de Arts (Paris), Bogliasco Foundation (Genoa), and the Residencia Internacional de Artistas en Argentina (Buenos Aires). Grants from the Peter S. Reed Foundation and the Peter Norton Family Foundation and an NYSCA Architecture, Planning & Design Project Award have helped to support his work.