Ryan Griffis/Lize Mogel/Sarah Ross
Aluminum, Birch plywood, 4-color digital print, cut acrylic, latex paint, miscellaneous hardware
Dimensions variable

Images above: Installations at the Miller Gallery (CMU) in 2011 and Gallery 400 (UIC) in 2012

Global Cities, Model Worlds is a traveling exhibition about the spatial and social impacts of “mega-events,” such as the Olympics and the World’s Fairs. The host cities of mega-events seek to transform themselves through planning, architecture, and ideology, becoming “global cities” in the process. Locally, mega-events pave the way for redevelopment projects that can create new public resources such as parks or transportation, but often result in significant displacement of residents or industry, thus reinforcing existing social inequities. The exhibition contrasts the promise of transformation with the on-the-ground realities of urban development. GCMW‘s modular forms, made of interlocking equilateral triangles, were inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s Biodome (built for Expo ’67 in Montreal) and Dymaxion map projection. The exhibition contains aerial photos of every Olympic stadium and World’s Fair site; a 40-foot timeline of mega-events in 2010; and pop-up acrylic models, which explore case studies of the impact of mega-events. GCMW will travel through the end of 2013 to cities that have bid for, hosted, or will host a mega-event.

Global Cities, Model Worlds was made possible by grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and material and financial support from the Miller Gallery and the Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, and Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Special thanks to Astria Suparak, Golan Levin, Lorelei Stewart.


  • Novas Cartografias, Carioca Design Center/Studio X, Rio De Janiero, May 17, 2013 to June 8, 2013
  • Gallery 400 – University of Illinois, Chicago, Jan 20, 2012 to Mar 03, 2012
    [reviewed in the Architect’s Newspaper]
    [reviewed: Weinberg, Lauren. “Global Cities, Model Worlds at Gallery 400.” TimeOut Chicago, Feb. 15, 2012]
    [reviewed by Monica Weston for NewCity Chicago]
  • Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Sep 16, 2011 to Dec 11, 2011
    [reviewed by Leila Nadir for Hyperallergic]
    [reviewed: Thomas Mary, “Activist art in Pittsburgh Biennial segment at CMU covers complex subjects,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 30, 2011.]