01/22/19 Faculty Spotlight: Anthony Morey
Anthony Morey is executive director and curator at A+D Museum and a lecturer at the USC School of Architecture. He received his B.Arch at SCI-Arc and studied History and Philosophy of Design and Media in Harvard’s Master of Design program. He finds his work and research centered around the tensions between text, psychology and image and their relationships to architecture and art.
Morey is also co-founder and chief curator of the ongoing curatorial experiment One-Night Stand for Art and Architecture, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the journal MASKS, editor-at-large of Archinect, and creative director of ynotWORKSHOP.
Can you tell us about your background and how long you have been teaching at USC?
I was originally raised in Miami. My family is from Cuba, and I was raised in a fantastical environment that converged culture, heritage, and design. For my architectural schooling I attended SCI-Arc in LA. It was a great introduction to Los Angeles and the creative climate that was flowing around the city. From there I attended Harvard's Graduate School of Design and had the exceptional opportunity to be a teaching fellow for K. Michael Hays and Preston Scott Cohen. After school, I found my way to UNL for their Hyde Chair of Excellence fellowship, which then led to my return to Los Angeles. I had always been part of the Los Angeles community since coming here for school and started a curatorial endeavor called “A One Night Stand for Art & Architecture.”
This was an experimental project started with fellow SCI-Arc colleagues and was a way for emerging voices to find support within the community. Over the three years we ran the project, we were honored to be able to present over 75 different artists, designers, and architects from around the country and discipline at large. This made me want to return to LA to refocus my energy and led me to the A+D Museum and USC. The museum was the logical progression for my curatorial endeavors and USC was the perfect fit for my architectural curiosities and their pursuits.
This year marks the second year of my time at USC, and I look forward to seeing how I can further contribute to the culture, growth and expansion of the program's rigor and reach.
What is your focus in teaching?
My thread of research is focused on the evolution, stability and conversation around the threshold. While this is traditionally considered a physical barrier, one tied to architecture or the built environment, the work that I am interested in is the idea of the threshold as not only the physical environment but in the psychological and digital realm. A threshold alone is considered to be the point between spaces and yet it can also be defined as a level, rate, or amount at which something comes into effect. This coming into effect is where the separation between not just spaces but between so many other dualities exists and where the focal point of my work resides.
The relationship between reader and writer, spectator and audience, sign and signifier are of keen interest and the base for the production of work in which I find myself. Working through these tense moments and existing in the in-between is where my connection to language and representation lay.
What inspires you?
The main source for my inspiration would have to be everyday conversations. Being at the museum gives me a huge exposure to a broad source of issues, dialogues and elements that in normal architectural conversations are not present. It always baffles me when architects only talk about architecture or when architecture is the source for their own progression. That seems so isolating and obvious; how can the obvious be inspirational over and over again? I have had more inspiration from a conversation with my nephews than from most tenured professors, but in the end that most likely says more about me than them.
What drew you to what you are doing now?
My current thread of work really comes from my interest at the moment. My excursions into VR and augmented reality stems from conversations, shows and exhibitions that we have had the honor to work on. Seeing the various interests in the architecture and design world is something that has an insurmountable influence on how I pursue my creative endeavors. Right now, being able to finally understand my project as a project of thresholds was a pure result of my pursuits in different mediums and disciplines.
How are your niche interests apparent in your projects and creations?
I would admit that while I try to stay open to various conversations, we all default to some main ones through time and through ritualistic processes. Mine would have to be towards mental development and psychology. Those themes of learning, how things are learned and how we translate learning into pedagogy, are all the main streams in my work. Due to those, graphics and language are then means of experimenting and demonstrating why architecture and its proprietary languages and conventions are a perfect fit for such intellectual and formal excursions.
What is the focus of ynotWORKSHOP?
Formally, ynotWORKSHOP is a global design consultancy based out of Los Angeles. The focus of its work is to explore design through art, architecture, buildings, pedagogy, exhibitions, writings, graphics and curatorial endeavors. In reality, it is just an umbrella for all the thoughts and exploits that I produce. I have the rare opportunity to have various institutional support and mechanisms in place for my research and so ynotWORKSHOP is a single spot for all those to collide and produce a sense of commonality, if not for the sake of identity.
Can you explain a One-Night Stand for Art & Architecture and its accompanying journal, Morning After?
A One-Night Stand for Art & Architecture (One-Night Stand LA) is a nonprofit event and publication project by a group of emerging architects and artists exploring different forms of media, but also new possibilities for strategies of subversion. The Los Angeles-based event was initiated as a means for fostering the emerging creative eruptions in the disciplines of art and architecture. The group uses motel rooms for one night, and one night only, to exhibit work.
The series is best described through its conceptual abstract. One-Night Stand is a single encounter without expectations of further exposure or presence of its participants. Further relations may be explored, and memories may be written, but nothing is carried to tomorrow. We return to banality once the night is over. The stability, the safety of the norm is returned. We provoke you with a taste. This one-night, this one moment allows our vices, our desires and our minds to tease, penetrate and release. It was founded by William Hu, Ryan Tyler Martinez and myself. The show was conceived as a format for artists, architects and all variations in between to explore vices, provocations, tendencies or questions that kept them awake at night. The tension of the responsibilities of life and the explorations of dreams came to fruition through the manifestations of the ideas that occupied the rooms.
What other current and/or future projects are you excited about?
My main current project is the museum. The A+D Museum is a platform for looking at culture, architecture, and design. Its main focus is to look forward, invest in, and attempt to ponder the possibilities of tomorrow, and initiate the conversations and provoke the thoughts that will move them forward. Thinking beyond the walls of the museum, beyond today, beyond tomorrow and beyond the current horizon is what I look to achieve. To fully and unequivocally support the voices of today, and tomorrow, the future must be unquestionably ripe for their arrival and impact. A platform is only as useful as its ability to produce a new view and to provide a space for experimentation and exploration of cultural limits. Using that platform and understanding its limits and strengths, and finding support to really support others, is a project that I am incredibly honored and humbled to be a part of and one that I look forward to greatly.