“Adolf Loos’ ‘Ornamentation and Crime’ is frequently cited as an important manifesto for modernist architecture. It is casually posed as an innocuous premise in art schools and, in its most generous snippets, often presented as a justification for the merits of minimalist aesthetics. However, even a cursory glance at the text in its whole reveals the sinister roots in racism, fascism and above all else the insistence of the cultural superiority of modern white Europeans. This window installation explores the idea that decades of minimalism is directly tied to the cultural erasure of all nations. While contemporary minimalism as a design choice doesn’t implicitly suggest these notions of superiority, I find it urgent and vital to interrogate the historical legacy of all design movements to understand their roles in colonialism, capitalism, systemic racism and complicity in white supremacy.
For this installation, I refer to my Baltic roots to create a display of traditional Lithuanian textile patterns that were widely used in Lithuania around the time of Loos’ writings. The installation deploys traditional Lithuanian aesthetics and techniques, that were frowned upon by Loos and his cohorts, as a way to navigate and connect to my heritage.”
– Jade Usackas
Jade Usackas is a Toronto-based artist, educator, and designer who utilizes glass, digital fabrication, and mixed media to explore intimate connection and human exchange. Jade’s predilection for disparate and deep connection is reflected in the various mediums through which she conveys her ideas. At present, her practice focuses primarily on the relationship between viewer and glass object throughout the ages. Jade has a tender heart and an intrepid soul. She has studied fine art and glass making techniques throughout North America at institutions including Fleming College, Sheridan College, Pilchuck Glass School, the Corning Museum of Glass, Chrysler Museum of Art, and Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.