Demolition and Art: New York Artist Dismantles and Creates

By Christine Kitano, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

From December 4th – 16th, in a joint performance and demolition piece entitled “Live Building,” New York-based artist and sculptor Jason Middlebrook will dismantle downtown Riverside’s Wurms Building by hand. The Wurms Janitorial Building, which has been located on Main Street for many years, is part of the UCR ARTSblock, a block of Riverside property that currently houses the UCR/California Museum of Photography and the Sweeney Art Gallery. The new Culver Center of the Arts will be located where the Wurms Building currently stands.

Anchoring the Riverside block on Main Street for many years, the Wurms Building has become a familiar part of the city’s landscape. For this reason and his belief in architecture as a living part of a community, Jason Middlebrook plans to reuse parts of the Wurms Building and its furniture in the construction of the Culver Center. Although significant changes will be made during construction, aspects of the Wurms Building and its connection with the Riverside community will live on.

“This is a great way to kick off the Culver Center and I congratulate UC Riverside and artist Jason Middlebrook on the sustainable and artistic nature of the project,” said Dom Betro, a Riverside City Council member. “I look forward to the completion of the Culver Center and the exhibits, performances and classes that the UCR ARTSblock will bring to the city.”

Middlebrook will discuss his vision for the project at 4 p.m. Thursday, December 7 in ARTS 335. The final installation of the performance, which will include use of a bulldozer, is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 16, on the ARTSblock.

The UCR/California Museum of Photography, the Sweeney Art Gallery, and the planned Culver Center of the Arts are now part of UCR ARTSblock, an integrated complex located on a single block which will bring exciting art exhibitions, live performances, and special events to Riverside and the Inland Empire communities. The Culver Center is expected to be finished by November, 2008.

For more information, please visit http://www.artsblock.ucr.edu.

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