Julian Rose


    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.


    “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,

  • “Rachel Rose: Wil-o-Wisp”

    Class warfare, the appropriation of public resources for private benefit, systemic violence against women—these painfully contemporary conditions were also defining characteristics of England in the sixteenth century, when the enclosure movement consolidated privatization of common land even as hysterical panic about witchcraft lead to widespread persecution of women. This uncannily resonant period is the subject of Rachel Rose’s latest work, to be unveiled at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this spring. While the artist is already known for her bravura deployment of


    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


    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

  • 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


     Like Arcosanti, the “urban laboratory” he constructed in the arid highlands of Arizona and ran for almost half a century, Paolo Soleri could be described as off the grid. His desert headquarters has now been a pilgrimage site for generations of countercultural-leaning architects, and his signature philosophy of “arcology”—which fused architecture with ecology in an effort to secure an environmentally sustainable future for humankind—could hardly seem more prescient. Yet Soleri never quite entered the mainstream; he receives little more than a footnote in


    WHETHER UTOPIAN OR AUTHORITARIAN, buildings—the places in which we live, work, die—have always reified systems of power. Today, when civic structures and urban spaces are increasingly at the center of political debates—witness the resurgence of marches, protests, and strikes in cities around the globe—Artforum invited architectural historian Mabel O. Wilson to speak with senior editor Julian Rose about the politics of race, labor, and architecture.

    JULIAN ROSE: Architecture is one of the central ways through which politics enters everyday life. The buildings that surround us, the spaces and structures we inhabit, are all physical manifestations of the cultural beliefs and social systems that order our society. And as material things in the world, buildings can embody—with brutal directness—economic inequalities and labor politics. But architecture is also a potent political symbol, and sometimes architecture’s symbolism collides head-on with its material reality—take the response to Michelle Obama’s remark, in her convention speech last

  • James Casebere

    When Louis Kahn visited Luis Barragán in 1965, their meeting marked one of the greatest meetings of architectural minds in the twentieth century. The American and Mexican masters shared an undeniable affinity—both placed a high premium on tradition and craftsmanship; displayed a preference for rugged building materials, particularly concrete; and had become famous for highly original styles that blended the language of modern architecture with a range of vernacular influences. They did find one point of profound disagreement, however: color. When Kahn saw the brightly painted concrete walls


    What do film, photography, and theater have in common? Architecture. That seems to be the straightforward but intriguing premise buried within the rhetoric of this self-styled “transmedia exhibition,” which brings together director Alexander Kluge, a pioneer of New German Cinema; photographer Thomas Demand, known for his pictures of painstakingly constructed models; and theatrical designer Anna Viebrock, whose innovative sets and costumes have appeared in stage productions around the world. Although the three are longtime friends and interlocutors, they have never


    In 1972, in the bleak predawn of Thatcherism, British art historian John Berger published Ways of Seeing, an unapologetically Marxist primer that set out to explode the Western canon by demonstrating that looking is an inherently political act—structured by historical and social circumstance—and that culture therefore encompasses a multiplicity of perspectives. Almost half a century later, curators Bardaouil and Fellrath have organized their eponymous exhibition around a similar premise, bringing together works ranging from objects that literally

  • Sarah Oppenheimer

    “Would you like to interact with the sculpture?” A guard greeted me with this question immediately after I entered the room at the Pérez Art Museum in which Sarah Oppenheimer’s new work S-281913, 2016, is installed. The invitation at first struck me as oddly redundant. All of the artist’s works that I had encountered previously were interactive by default, consisting of razor-sharp transformations of gallery architecture—usually a series of cuts through floors, walls, or ceilings in combination with planes of reflective glass—that collectively effected a complex and continuous reshuffling

  • interviews January 19, 2017

    Do Ho Suh

    Do Ho Suh is an artist based between London, New York, and Seoul who is known for his intensive work with architecture’s experiential, mnemonic, and psychological dimensions, engagements that often take the form of full-scale fabric re-creations of the spaces in which he has lived. Here, he discusses rubbing/loving, 2016, a large-scale piece that began with a painstaking process of wrapping all of the surfaces of his former apartment with white paper—including walls and cabinets, light switches and door handles, as well as his house key in its lock. Suh then used colored pencils and pastels to

  • Fred Sandback

    It’s hard to get through an article or even a conversation about Fred Sandback’s work without hearing it described as “drawing in space.” This is hardly surprising, given that for over three decades he used thin strands of acrylic yarn (and occasionally wire, string, or elastic cord) to create three-dimensional configurations composed from that most basic element of drawing: the line. Yet while the notion of drawing in space had already featured prominently in Clement Greenberg’s writing about midcentury expressionist sculpture, Sandback’s drawing is hardly so subjective; his lines look less

  • Peter Shire

    In 1974, Peter Shire set out to accomplish a seemingly nonsensical goal: that of creating a three-dimensional teapot. Having recently graduated from art school with a degree in ceramics, he was of course aware of the longstanding tradition of teapots having not only height and width but depth as well; an enclosed volume is, after all, a necessary precondition for containing the hot liquid from which these vessels take their name. But Shire was referring not so much to the form of the container, per se, as to the processes through which it was conceived and produced.

    Most ceramic teapots are thrown

  • Pierre Paulin

    If the most primordial purpose of a chair is to keep your butt off the ground, then Pierre Paulin’s 1967 Tongue chair is an abject failure. This icon of 1960s design, which was recently on view among a handful of Paulin’s most famous works at Galerie Perrotin, is something closer to a cushion than a proper seat; the undulating form suggested by its name leaves its user in a semi-reclined posture, with his or her posterior separated from the floor by only a few inches of foam padding.

    This arrangement is the result of Paulin’s singularly audacious decision to eliminate the legs, along with any


    WHEN PIERRE DE MEURON recently said that Tate Modern, which he designed with Jacques Herzog, “created a wholly new way of showing art,” it was probably one of the few cases on record in which an architect was not egotistical enough. In fact, when the building opened in 2000, it represented nothing less than a wholesale reinvention of the art museum, a project of game-changing superlatives: It was the largest institution dedicated to modern and contemporary art in the world; it also became the most popular, attracting more than five million visitors (nearly double those of the Museum of Modern

  • Amie Siegel

    “A house is a machine for living in.” So declared Le Corbusier in his revolutionary 1923 book Towards a New Architecture, thereby providing the burgeoning modern movement with one of its most famous maxims. Yet this pronouncement was as enigmatic as it was aphoristic, ripe for misinterpretation. Corbusier’s text was lavishly illustrated with images of automobiles, airplanes, and ocean liners, and in this context it was easy to understand his statement as a call for buildings to share the same sleek look that made such industrial technology so visually arresting. Indeed, the house to which

  • “Sarah Oppenheimer: S-281913”

    The complex interplay between movement and perception has long been the crux of Sarah Oppenheimer’s work. Interrogating the ways in which architecture inflects our movement and thereby frames the horizon of our experience, her astonishingly precise interventions into institutional spaces—which often take the form of apertures cut in walls, floors, and ceilings—produce sudden shifts, expansions, and occlusions in our visual field as we pass around and through them. Her upcoming installation S-281913 is an audacious extension of this logic: Oppenheimer proposes to

  • architecture August 16, 2016

    Behind the Music

    IN OUR EVER MORE INTERCONNECTED CULTURE, architecture’s predilection for interdisciplinarity has become a popular topic both inside and outside of the field, whether among those seeking to expand architecture’s reach or to co-opt its methodologies. Most of these conversations focus on a relatively narrow range of interaction with the visual arts, despite the fact that, historically, music has often been architecture’s closest partner. For centuries, while painters and sculptors were preoccupied with various techniques of mimesis, architects and musicians focused on more abstract compositional