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Los Carpinteros

Transportable City

Not on view



Watercolor and wax crayon on paper

Sheet (Irregular, Sight): 51 × 74in. (129.5 × 188 cm)

Accession number

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Dean Valentine and Amy Adelson

Rights and reproductions
© artist or artist’s estate

This large watercolor and ink drawing depicts the ten buildings that comprise the ongoing project Transportable City, created by the Havana-based artist collective Los Carpinteros (The Carpenters). Transportable City is a sculptural installation of ten tent-like structures representing the institutions that the group considers necessary for contemporary society to function, including a factory, a church, a university, a prison, a capitol building, a lighthouse, a military outpost, and an apartment building. “We wanted to create the basic shell of what a city should be,” explained member Dagoberto Rodríguez about the structures, which have been erected in museums and at art fairs around the world. Fashioned from nylon fabric and aluminum tubing, the tents stand between six and fifteen feet high, and can be dismantled quickly, demonstrating a portability that reflects the transitory nature of contemporary urban life. As nomadic, highly flexible structures, they invoke a utopian aspiration for widespread public access to the most essential urban institutions, as well as a more apocalyptic vision of a city continually displaced by war, famine, or natural disaster. 

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