Sunday, December 22, 2013

Troy Hill house inspired by Naoshima's Art House Project. recently looked at La Hütte Royal (The Royal Hut) at 1812 Rialto St. (map) in Pittsburgh's Troy Hill neighborhood.
German artist Thorsten Brinkmann has transformed a dilapidated, abandoned family home – and a particularly unattractive take on the suburban vernacular style at that – in the Troy Hill area of Pittsburgh into a (still slightly dilapidated) permanent art work.

The house, built in 1912, was bought from the city by local art collector Evan Mirapaul in 2011. Inspired by the Art House Project on Naoshimi Island in Japan, where artists have had their creative way with abandoned houses, Mirapaul invited Hamburg-based Brinkmann to come and see the house and think about what he might do with it. Multiple long-hauls later and every room in the three-storey (four storeys if you include the basement where Brinkmann has installed a boxing ring) has been wildly re-imagined.
Visits to La Hütte Royal are arranged by appointment only; email for more information.

Naoshima (直島町) is an island in Kagawa prefecture, Japan, known for its ubiquitous indoor and outdoor art installations and galleries. Information about the various "art houses" are available on the local tourism homepage. The island was last mentioned on this site, and in this city, in January 2013, when the Carnegie Museum of Art hosted White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes, featuring, among others, Tadao Ando, a Japanese artist with numerous installations on Naoshima. The winter 2012 issue of Carnegie Magazine---which has a photograph of Ando's Benesse House on Naoshima, mentioned below---discusses both the White Cute, Green Maze exhibit and the genesis of La Hütte Royal.
The “germinal idea,” Mirapaul says, stemmed from his visit to the Benesse site in 2007. “I thought, what’s stopping other people from doing this? It’s not that crazy to do,” says Mirapaul. “Pittsburgh and a Japanese fishing village aren’t exactly apples to apples, but both are places where people used to do things they can’t do anymore, so the nature of place is going to change.”