For the past 20 years, Jorge Pardo has been swinging his wrecking ball around the art establishment, tearing down traditional categories of creativity and staking his claim to an underused patch of terrain utterly his own, at the intersection of art, architecture, design, painting and sculpture.
“What I do is shape space and play with the history that forms people’s sense of expectation,” the Cuban-born Fine Art alumnus explained in a 2013 W Magazine profile. “I don’t think art is not functional. A painting is functional. People hang it on the wall. You can trade it. It’s like money. But historical tradition says paintings are not functional.”
A 2010 MacArthur “Genius,” Pardo has been bucking tradition since he rose to prominence in 1998, with 4166 Sea View Lane, a functional sculpture/house he designed and built for a MOCA exhibition. His current project may be his most ambitious yet. Pardo has handcrafted each element of Tecoh, a compound of buildings and gardens in the Yucatan jungle, to create an Edenic multisensory experience. At the heart of all of Pardo’s work lies a DIY commitment to artisanship, honed during his time at Art Center. “I like to know how things work,” Pardo told W. “I think everything interesting comes from figuring it out.”