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, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, ca. 1943–59, gouache on paper mounted on board, 20 × 24 1/4".

    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

  • Stuart A. Weiner, Soleri Sketching at His Desk, Cosanti, ca. 1960, gelatin silver print, sheet size 10 × 8". From “Repositioning Paolo Soleri: The City Is Nature.” © The Weiner Estate, Collection of the Cosanti Foundation.


     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

  • Benjamin Henry Latrobe, The White House, Washington, DC, South Front Elevation, 1817, watercolor and ink on paper, 16 1/8 × 21 1/4".


    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, Empty Studio, 2017, ink-jet print, 44 3/8 × 66 1/2".

    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

  • Alexander Kluge, . . . kommt ein Schiff gefahren ( . . . a Ship Sails This Way), 2017, various film formats transferred to digital video, color and black-and-white, silent, 15 minutes 19 seconds. From “The Boat Is Leaking. The Captain Lied.”


    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, S-281913, 2016, aluminum, glass, two components, each 16' × 17' 9“ × 1' 4”. Installation view. Photo: James Ewing.

    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