COLUMNS

  • LIGHT HOUSES

    RENZO PIANO HAS DESIGNED more art museums than any other living architect. His compelling architectural language is recognizably his own but also elastic enough to adapt to all kinds of institutions, from the Centre Pompidou in Paris to the Art Institute of Chicago to his studio’s current projects in major cities on three continents. Here, as part of Artforum’s ongoing conversation series about museum architecture, senior editor Julian Rose speaks with Piano about the complexities of balancing art, light, and space. 

    JULIAN ROSE: You are by far the most prolific museum designer in the world today.

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  • CITY PLANAR

    “THIS WILL KILL THAT!” So proclaims Archdeacon Claude Frollo, the villain of Victor Hugo’s Gothic romance The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Standing before the titular cathedral, he brandishes a cutting-edge device: a book. Though the novel takes place not long after the invention of the printing press, Frollo presciently understands that this revolutionary new technology will obviate architecture’s role in acculturating and indoctrinating the masses. But by the time Hugo published the novel in 1831, his compatriots Nicéphore Niépce and Louis Daguerre had already produced the world’s first photographs,

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  • TECTONIC ARTS

    NO LIVING ARCHITECT has done more to change the face of the field than Frank Gehry. Many of his works—the Guggenheim Bilbao among them—are world-famous attractions, while his pioneering engagement with digital modeling software has permanently altered the way buildings are designed and constructed around the globe. Here, as part of Artforum’s ongoing conversation series about museum architecture, senior editor Julian Rose speaks with Gehry about art, architecture, technology, and the complex interplay among them.

    JULIAN ROSE: Not many architects can say they have a cultural phenomenon

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  • INTO THE LIGHT

    SINCE 1995, when they cofounded the architecture studio SANAA, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa have been celebrated both for the extraordinary material and tectonic refinement of their structures and for their careful attention to the social life of buildings. In the past decade, they have brought their unique talents to bear on a number of innovative exhibition spaces around the globe, from the New Museum in New York to intimate galleries constructed on remote islands in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. Here, as part of Artforum’s ongoing conversation series on museum architecture, senior editor Julian

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  • SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE

    JACQUES HERZOG AND PIERRE DE MEURON are known not only for their pioneering museum designs—from the Sammlung Goetz in Munich to London’s Tate Modern and the Pérez Art Museum Miami—but also for their intense and productive collaborations with a wide range of artists, which reach back to the very beginning of their career. Here, as part of Artforum’s ongoing series of conversations on the space of the museum, senior editor Julian Rose speaks with Herzog about art, architecture, and the alchemical transformations between them.

    JULIAN ROSE: Today, we expect that architects of a certain

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  • France’s Oriental Dream: The Louvre Abu Dhabi

    WITH THE INAUGURATION of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum in early November 2017, France fulfilled a wish it had harbored for a long time. This ancient dream, which emerged under the Sun King Louis XIV at the end of the seventeenth century, was nothing less than to assume the mantle of Imperial Rome, claiming its cultural and territorial heritage. The dream ebbed and flowed for three centuries, but its crucible and the moment that shaped its colonial, epistemological, and symbolic dimensions was the Napoleonic occupation of Egypt in 1798. This ambitious adventure ended less than three years later

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  • Forensic Architecture

    FOR DECADES NOW, the bleeding edge of architecture has treated building itself as a foil, even an adversary—the mirror image of a self-styled critical practice. As the paper architecture of the 1960s and ’70s developed into a wide range of institutionalized alternative practices, from curatorial projects to multimedia installations, timeworn disciplinary concerns of matter and materiality seemed condemned to retrograde status, the stuff of unreflective designer-minions serving the interests of powerful clients. But this attitude takes a paradoxical twist in the work of Forensic Architecture,

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  • Frank Lloyd Wright

    ALMOST A CENTURY AGO, the world was already trying to have the last word on Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1940, New York’s Museum of Modern Art grandly proclaimed that its upcoming exhibition of the American master’s work would be “the first attempt to show the entire range of his astonishing architectural career.” In retrospect, this presumption of totality seems reasonable enough. Wright was already seventy-three, and the museum had assembled more than five decades of his designs, including several recently constructed masterpieces—the iconic Fallingwater house from 1937 among them—that

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  • London Calling

    THERE ARE TWO JUBILANT MOMENTS in “Mies van der Rohe + James Stirling: Circling the Square” at the Royal Incorporation of British Architects’ (RIBA) Architecture Gallery in London, but they are easy to miss, even in a show as small as this one. Both pertain to Mies’s plans in the 1960s to erect a nineteen-story office high-rise on a central site in the City of London, and both are represented by ephemera that suggest the slow rise and precipitous fall of the ill-fated project.

    The first piece is a quick sketch of an inverted pyramid of champagne glasses, made by the architect’s grandson Dirk

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  • Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley’s ReActor

    THE RITUALS OF DOMESTICITY have long been a focus for cutting-edge practices in both art and architecture. Examples abound: Architects Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio slyly subverted the politics of gender and labor underpinning household chores in their Bad Press: Housework Series, 1993–98, which included a set of men’s dress shirts pressed into bizarre shapes according to “Instructions for a Dissident Ironing”; artists Arakawa and Madeline Gins literally recalibrated the topography of the domestic landscape in their 2008 Bioscleave House (Lifespan Extending Villa), which sought nothing

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  • “Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter”

    LIKE A LOT of inexpensive flat-packed furniture—shipped halfway around the world and arriving with “some assembly required”—the lightweight, pitch-roofed structure at the center of the Museum of Modern Art in New York’s “Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter” is missing a few parts. But this is not by accident. In a gesture of accommodation within an exhibition otherwise intent on revealing the inhospitality of contemporary migrant and refugee environments, two of the thirty-six polyolefin-foam panels enclosing the structure’s tubular-steel frame have been removed, inviting

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  • the staircase in contemporary architecture

    THE PRIMORDIAL SPACES of modernism were spaces of labor. It was in the industrialized efficiency of the factory floor that many of the fundamental attributes of modern architecture—the grid, the open plan, the revealed structure—were developed. And as modern labor became more corporate over the course of the twentieth century, modern architecture did, too: The cubicles of the typical modern office adhered to the same rigorous organizational logic as factory workbenches, with desks appearing one after the other, arranged in single file for solitary work. Yet today the nature of working

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