A Project by Yona Friedman

August 28 - September 8, 2019

Yona Friedman,  Spatial City , 1959-2019

Yona Friedman, Spatial City, 1959-2019

Organized by Sylvie Boulanger, Dylan Gauthier, Nicholas Vargelis

Opening Reception: Wednesday, August 28, 6–8 PM

Artists: Fanny Allié, Laetitia Badaut Haussmann, Théodora Barat, A Constructed World with Stephanie Lin, Pradeep Dalal, Yona Friedman, Richard Jochum, Dana Levy, Flora Moscovici, MDR (Maria D. Rapicavoli), Dannielle Tegeder with Christian Lynch, Nicholas Vargelis. 

A production of EFA Project Space in collaboration with cneai= and Le Petit Versailles.


Best known for his concepts of mobility and improvisation in architecture, Yona Friedman’s works inherently support practicability and flexibility, two attributes that seem increasingly important in response to the current ecological crisis. Friedman’s projects promote reuse and salvage, discarding the one-upmanship of contemporary architecture, and protecting the human need for housing from becoming a simple matter of economics.  

“Starting in the late 1950's, I had the idea of making a 'mobile architecture.' It was important that the inhabitant and user could be able to design their own living quarters by themselves. This [architectural] program involved a technique which allowed one to easily move all parts of the structure (walls, ceilings, floors) into any position, as simple as moving furniture.’’ ~ Yona Friedman, Biosphere, 2018

Museum Without Building is a collaborative and itinerant proposal for an exhibition based on Friedman’s work. Installed and activated at sites across New York City this summer, for 10 days it will be hosted as a project within the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space. Museum Without Building envisions the construction of an open format architectural structure that invites in artwork, performances, dinners, workshops and research in response to Friedman’s text, “Biosphere” which reflects on the need to build less, to improvise more with what we already have, and stands in opposition to the monolithic and egomaniacal architectural tendencies that we currently face in global urban centers.

For Museum Without Building, we have invited in 11 artists whose work displays a natural affinity with the themes and techniques inherent to Friedman’s oeuvre to make or share work in response to the Biosphere text along with an assemblage of work by Friedman himself.  The invited artists reside and work in Paris (invited by the CNEAI=) or are in residence as members of the EFA Studios Program.

As part of the overarching public art event dedicated to Friedman’s work, earlier in the summer, during the course of a public workshop at AiA Center for Architecture, the public constructed several Museum Without Buildings following Friedman’s plans out of multicolored hula hoops.  These modules function as "stages" for a living artistic ecosystem, and a ground onto which we might hang, etch, project, and develop new modes of living and being — if only for a time.

A new publication of Yona Friedman’s text Biosphere will be available for purchase at the exhibition opening and available thereafter through the EFA Project Space website.

The work of Dannielle Tegeder and Christian Lynch is created with support by the Pratt Institute School of Architecture with contributions by the following students: Alison Yoo, Devin Dzierba, Marley Olson, Rachel Bouraad, Beatriz Morum de Santa, Dayoon Oh, Peiye Yang + Hamza Hamdeh, Aryton Lilles + Cal McAullife, Graham Rose + Raymond Assis, Crystal Chen + Suvian Tan, Pintian (Ray) Liu, Sabrina Tedino + Serra Ozdemir, Adriana Hinojosa + Susana Chinchila, Li Jin, Haohan Tang and Guixian Zhang, with additional models provided by Lynch Eisinger Design Architects.

A full press release is available here.


Sylvie Boulanger is an exhibition curator, publisher and searcher in the field of contemporary art. She is head of the National Art Image Publishing Center (cneai) since 1997. She develops programs of exhibition, research, residency, editorials and a collection of artists' publications (FMRA collection)

Dylan Gauthier is Director of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space, a 501c3 non-profit gallery devoted to experimental practices in the visual arts. For the past decade, Gauthier has straddled the line between artist, curator, and community organizer.  Employing sound, performance, video, sculpture, and photography, Gauthier works through a research-based and collaborative practice centered on ecology, architecture, landscape, and social change.  

In addition to working as an artist Nicholas Vargelis also works as a curator and program manager for Le Petit Versailles: focusing on social and environmental issues, taking into consideration the site specific nature of the garden itself.


The Cneai is a national center for contemporary art which for twenty years has been inviting both emerging and renowned artists whose art engages with societal issues. Their works reflect their sensitivity to all areas of human activity. Committed to the creation of communities, the Cneai fosters the financial and cultural empowerment of artists within the framework of collaborative and interdisciplinary practices: publishing, graphic design, digital creation, social work, writing, music, production, etc. The Cneai is committed to the promotion of culture beyond the market and the development of new models for production and transmission of artistic forms, particularly those that disrupt established categories. It reaches out to all audiences at every stage of the creative process (from meeting with artists to exhibitions).

Le Petit Versailles is a public garden from the New York City Parks Dept. and GreenThumb, created in 1996 and cared for by Allied Productions Inc. (a non-profit organization focusing on artistic creation since 1981).  This garden measuring 7 x 22 meters opens onto Houston Street and Second Street, was created on the site of a former auto-body chop shop. A stage is prominently placed in the center of the garden forming a space where artists come to produce and expose their works.  The garden also hosts a rich program with a wide range of artistic disciplines focusing on the environment, social and progressive questions and also take into account the site-specific nature of the garden.

EFA Project Space, launched in September 2008 as a program of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, is a collaborative, cross-disciplinary arts venue founded on the belief that art is directly connected to the individuals who produce it, the communities that arise because of it, and to everyday life; and that by providing an arena for exploring these connections, we empower artists to forge new partnerships and encourage the expansion of ideas.   

MUSEUM WITHOUT BUILDING continues throughout the summer in New York City:

Center for Architecture - AIA - June 21 and 22
536 LaGuardia Pl, Manhattan

Le Petit Versailles - from June 23 to September 15
346 East Houston Street, 247 E 2nd St, Manhattan

Emily Harvey Foundation - September 5
537 Broadway #2, Manhattan