Barry Bergdoll

  • “Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist”

    With an immediately recognizable palette of forms between paintings, prints, tapestries, and above all gardens, Roberto Burle Marx was one of only a handful of polymath twentieth-century designers able to infuse a subtly layered sense of space to his work at every scale, from jewelry to urban space. Though he has long been celebrated as having translated painting into landscape architecture, this first presentation of the Brazilian artist’s work in New York in a quarter century will also emphasize the ways in which his fluency with plants—he


    ARCHITECTS’ REPUTATIONS are far more fragile than the structures of bricks and mortar—or steel and glass—that they erect, as the ritual of celebrating artistic centennials too often attests. The exhibitions organized to mark the hundredth anniversary of Mies van der Rohe’s birth in 1986, for example, fell on deaf ears, so maligned at that exuberantly postmodern moment was Mies’s rigorous and crystalline modernism. Le Corbusier’s centenary, one year later, delivered a megaretrospective at Paris’s Centre Pompidou and an avalanche of new books but spurred no fresh engagement with his

  • Learning from Philadelphia

    Robert Venturi, whose seminal Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture of 1966 is credited with returning historical concerns to the forefront of architectural theory and practice after the willful amnesia of modernism, is, it would seem, overcome with anxiety about his own place in history. Weeks before the Philadelphia Museum of Art opened “Out of the Ordinary: The Architecture and Design of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates” this summer, Venturi issued his latest broadside. “I am not now and never have been a postmodernist” ran the quote accompanying a frowning Venturi on