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Finding Art in Destruction

UC Riverside ARTSblock Gets Creative with Building Demolition

The artist will talk about his vision for the project at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7 in ARTS 335 on the UCR campus. A grand finale is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, on the ARTSblock, an event that will include a bulldozer

(December 4, 2006)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- The final piece of the UCR ARTSblock is beginning with an ending. New York-based artist and sculptor Jason Middlebrook will dismantle a building by hand from Dec. 4 through 16, in a performance piece called, "Live Building."

He will tear into the Wurms Janitorial Building, in preparation for the opening of the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts on the downtown mall. And as a result, he will be reusing parts of the building as furniture or other useful objects, under the theory that architecture is a living part of a community. The title of the project, "Live Building," will be cut into the side wall, which faces a parking lot, making the project and the ideas behind it visible to passers-by and the Riverside community.

Middlebrook spoke about his vision for the project Thursday, Dec. 7 in ARTS 335. A grand finale is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, on the ARTSblock, an event that will include the use of a bulldozer.

The Wurms Building anchored the Riverside block on Main Street for many years and was part of the landscape. Through this event, and the unique and functional pieces created from this landmark, the building lives on.

“This is a great way to kick off the Culver Center and I congratulate UC Riverside and artist Jason Middlebrook on the sustainable and artistic nature of the project,” said Dom Betro, a Riverside City Council member. “I look forward to the completion of the Culver Center and the exhibits, performances and classes that the UCR ARTSblock will bring to the city.”

The UCR/California Museum of Photography, the Sweeney Art Gallery, and the planned Culver Center of the Arts are now part of UCR ARTSblock, an integrated complex located on a single block which will bring exciting art exhibitions, live performances, and special events to Riverside and the Inland Empire communities. The Culver Center is expected to be finished by November, 2008.

Jason Middlebrook completed his masters of fine arts at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1994. His work has been exhibited at Palazzo Delle Papesse Centro Arte Contemporanea, Siena, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, The Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, The Whitney Museum at Altria, The Wellcome Trust, London, and the Public Art Fund, New York, among other institutions. Middlebrook's work is housed in renowned private and institutional collections around the world. He currently has a new commission in China.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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