Julian Rose

  • 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

  • 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

  • 15th International Architecture Biennale: “Reporting from the Front”

    At a time when Europe’s migrant crisis has provoked an apparently contagious obsession with walls and fences—even as it highlights a dire need for the most basic requirement of physical shelter—and when ISIS’s campaigns of destruction have terrifyingly underscored the symbolic potency of buildings and monuments, there can be little doubt that architecture is deeply political. But does this status place political influence in the hands of architects themselves? This year’s biennial answers in the affirmative, gathering eighty-eight participants who deploy

  • the Met Breuer

    IN THE FALL OF 1963, presenting his vision for a new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Marcel Breuer described a structure that would play the role of mediator—actively shepherding the visitor through the transition from a frenetic urban context into the spaces of contemplation that awaited within: “It should transform the vitality of the street into the sincerity and profundity of art.” More than half a century later, Breuer’s conception of art can sound quaint; the last show the Whitney held in his galleries before moving on to more expansive accommodations downtown was a

  • Ettore Sottsass

    In a letter from 1987, no less a towering figure of twentieth-century design than Aldo Rossi credited his compatriot Ettore Sottsass (1917–2007) with “the destruction of established architecture.” The establishment that Rossi was referring to was modernism, or what Sottsass himself once described as the Bauhaus legacy of “functionalism, functionalism, functionalism,” that still lingered decades into the postwar era. And there is no question that throughout the course of his career, spanning well over half a century, Sottsass cemented a reputation as one of the most famous—even

  • “Wolfgang Tillmans : On the Verge of Visibility”

    Long before he completed his stunning two-channel video Book for Architects, 2014, Wolfgang Tillmans had established himself as an artist with an exceptional sensitivity to constructed space, not only as a subject to document but as a medium to explore and inhabit. Since the early 1990s, he has experimented with the installation of his work to produce exhibitions of extraordinary spatial complexity, even when he begins with the generic—and ubiquitous—white cube that still dominates contemporary exhibition space. Tillmans’s upcoming show at Álvaro Siza Vieira’s

  • the Broad museum and urban development in Los Angeles

    “HAVE YOU SEEN THE LIGHT?” I heard the question over and over during a recent trip to Los Angeles. This being a city with a long and storied history of cults, the query was disconcerting at first, but I soon realized that there was nothing metaphysical about it. It was, instead, a literal reference to the most talked-about quality of the building I had come to visit: the new Broad museum, designed by the New York–based studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), which opened downtown on September 20 amid widespread praise for the sublime luminosity of its interior spaces.

    Daylight has always been