The Art of Architecture

Architect Richard Gluckman credits much of his professional success to the practical experience he gained as an SU student. By the time he graduated in 1971, he’d designed and built two houses and helped construct another. “The hands-on experience gave me the confidence and insight I needed to get an early start on my career,” says Gluckman, principal at Gluckman Mayner Architects in New York City. “My architecture career truly began when I was a student.”
      Gluckman, renowned for his expertise in museum and renovation architecture, collaborates with artists, builders, curators, and clients from around the world who understand the close relationship between art and architecture. “My museum designs celebrate the aesthetic and functional features of older structures and minimize intrusion on the art housed in new structures,” he says.
      Gluckman says he was fortunate to study with SU professors who were “second-generation modernists.” His early exposure to the giants of modernism—Gropius, Le Corbusier, and Wright—guided his career toward working with contemporary artists. “My work supports the artist,” he says. “We can create or renovate buildings in such a way as to avoid the intrusion of architectural detail on viewer sensibilities.”
      Gluckman usually works with large, open grids of space, which easily shelter the size and scale of modern art. He enjoys the challenge of new construction, public space commissions, and furnishing concepts, but also embraces “a modernist perspective to bring old buildings to new life.”

Courtesy of Richard Gluckman

      For the recent renovation of Marcel Breuer’s 1966 Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, Gluckman and partner David Mayner preserved the architect’s original intent, which had anticipated the large scale of modern art. Working within the building’s existing frame, they accessed space that became “complete and unified by the art,” and is now the foundation of the museum’s collection. “I have a lot of respect for artists, and I think they know it,” Gluckman says. “I make the relationship between the viewer and the artist paramount.”

—Joanne Arany

Joe Lawton

June Gaddy’s art is a walking history lesson. During a stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, she became fascinated with the idea of fabric and clothing as a means of cultural documentation. While teaching art at the Museum for African Art in SoHo back home in New York City, she began working with textiles as a medium for storytelling. “One particular exhibition showed ways in which Africans used their clothing to pass on their life stories,” Gaddy says. “It started me thinking about how in America we have a lot of important stories to tell. That’s when I opened the box of fabric I’d brought back from Africa.”
      Gaddy, who has an undergraduate degree in fashion illustration from the College of Visual and Performing Arts and a graduate degree in art education from Brooklyn College, uses her art to incorporate her love of photography with her interest in personal history. Over the past several years, she’s completed nearly 20 pieces of unique clothing, using photography, shells, and anything else that helps convey a story. A dress she created to honor Harriet Tubman has more than 300 ornamental cowrie shells sewn into it, one for each of the slaves Tubman is credited with leading to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Some of the stories Gaddy tells are complex and personal. For example, she designed a black dress with a photograph of her mother’s 18th birthday celebration in Harlem silkscreened across the bodice. “I wanted to document my family’s evolution from Southern sharecroppers to East Coast city dwellers,” Gaddy says, “to show where they came from and how far they have come.”
      While pursuing her art, Gaddy also juggles work as a teacher and guide at the International Center for Photography in Manhattan with further graduate study. This year, she will complete a master’s degree in library science from the Pratt Institute to become an art librarian. “I’ve always liked libraries and my artwork requires a lot of research,” she says. “At some point, I may want to spend more time just focusing on my art, but for now, being an art librarian is a good match.”

—Tammy DiDomenico

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