(Dancing Foxes Press/Institute of Contemporary Art. 2014)
Published to accompany a group exhibition curated by artist Kara Walker, Ruffneck Constructivists brings together 11 international artists and 1 freestyle architecture theorist to define a contemporary manifesto of urban architecture and change. Inspired by the Russian Constructivists as well as MC Lyte's 1993 hit song "Ruffneck," the phrase evokes thuggishness as an expression of abjection. In place of the architect’s ego, the censured braggadocio of the hood – its focus on the commodification of structures and spaces made and remade by policed bodies and identities – is king. In the end, the exhibit and catalogue present for public consideration and debate a parallel between various radical art and architecture movements of the early 20th century – with their rigorous rethinking of built and social environments – and contemporary art that addresses urbanism and racial identity in similarly outspoken, albeit less utopian and more streetwise terms.