Sandfuture: Artist Justin Beal Interprets Minoru Yamasaki

Nov 7
6:30 pm
8:30 pm
Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP, 120 Broadway, 20th Floor New York, NY 10271
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Artist Justin Beal will speak about his book Sandfuture (MIT Press September 2021), a book about the life of the architect Minoru Yamasaki (1912–1986), who remains on the margins of history despite the enormous influence of his work on American architecture and society. That Yamasaki’s most famous projects—the Pruitt-Igoe apartments in St. Louis and the original World Trade Center in New York—were both destroyed on national television, thirty years apart, makes his relative obscurity all the more remarkable.

Sandfuture is also a book about an artist interrogating art and architecture’s role in culture as New York changes drastically after a decade bracketed by terrorism and natural disaster. From the central thread of Yamasaki’s life, Sandfuture spirals outward to include reflections on a wide range of subjects, from the figure of the architect in literature and film and transformations in the contemporary art market to the perils of sick buildings and the broader social and political implications of how, and for whom, cities are built. The result is at once sophisticated in its understanding of material culture and novelistic in its telling of a good story.

Justin Beal is an artist and author based in New York. His first book, Sandfuture, was published by the MIT Press in 2021. The Guardian architectural critic Edwin Heathcoate described Sandfuture as “a brilliant, often surprisingly personal, book that works as metaphor and, perhaps, as portent.” Beal currently teaches in the Macaulay Honors Program at Hunter College and his writing has appeared recently in Frieze, Curbed, The Architect’s Newspaper and Harper’s Magazine.