Sean Keller

  • “OMA/PROGRESS”

    Nearly forty years after completing his thesis at London’s Architectural Association, Rem Koolhaas, the frequent-flying founding partner of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), will have a homecoming.

    Nearly forty years after completing his thesis at London’s Architectural Association, Rem Koolhaas, the frequent-flying founding partner of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), will have a homecoming. Coinciding with the completion of the firm’s first permanent building in London—the Rothschild bank headquarters—this exhibition will explore the global range of OMA’s influential practice, from its formation in 1975 through celebrated recent projects such as the Seattle Central Library (2004), Porto’s Casa da Música (2005), and the ongoing China Central Television

  • PLAYING THE FIELD: COMPUTATIONAL ARCHITECTURE AND ABSTRACT PAINTING

    IT’S BEEN A WHILE since architects talked about paintings. The long relationship between the two disciplines—one that ran from their premodern symbiosis through modern architecture’s entanglements with Purism, Constructivism, and De Stijl up to postmodernism’s fascination with Pop—has come undone. The legend of Le Corbusier painting in the morning and practicing architecture in the afternoon is no longer a disciplinary model but a historical curiosity. It is no coincidence that this parting of ways over the past two decades has occurred as architects have largely replaced physical

  • Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century

    Philip Johnson pegged Wright as the greatest architect of the nineteenth century; could he also be a model for the twenty-first?

    Philip Johnson pegged Wright as the greatest architect of the nineteenth century; could he also be a model for the twenty-first? On one hand, Wright’s organic architecture—with its intricate weaving of part and whole, building and landscape—was a surprising precursor of contemporary interests. On the other, his antiurban fantasies foreshadowed the auto-based sprawl that threatens the planet itself as a viable organism. Centered on major built work such as Unity Temple (1905–1908), Fallingwater (1935–39),

  • Liam Gillick

    NO ONE CAN DENY Liam Gillick’s ambition. Here is an artist who wants to take it all on: global capitalism, corporate identity, product design, institutional critique, modernism and its aftermath, Minimalism and its aftermath, literary conventions, the linearity of time itself. The forms of Gillick’s engagement are equally diverse, including sculpture, installation, print, video, and curatorial projects, as well as prolific writing of criticism, manifestos, and fiction. All of this is guided by an unresolved combination of the Marxist desire to explain everything with a single system (centered

  • “Van Doesburg and the International Avant-Garde”

    A chief exponent of De Stijl, Theo van Doesburg was anything but doctrinaire.

    A chief exponent of De Stijl, Theo van Doesburg was anything but doctrinaire. Like the elemental shapes that logically expanded from his canvases to the world itself, his activities reached out to involve such seemingly antithetical developments as the early Bauhaus and Dada. Organized in collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden, the Netherlands (where the show is on view through January 3), this exhibition comprises more than three hundred pieces by van Doesburg and some eighty of the artists he affected, from

  • “Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity”

    A 1927 visit to the Bauhaus was part of the inspiration for Alfred H. Barr Jr.’s conception of the Museum of Modern Art. Now, for the first time since 1938, the American home of modernism will devote a major exhibition to its European precursor.

    A 1927 visit to the Bauhaus was part of the inspiration for Alfred H. Barr Jr.’s conception of the Museum of Modern Art. Now, for the first time since 1938, the American home of modernism will devote a major exhibition to its European precursor. Organized in collaboration with three German Bauhaus collections (and adapted from an exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin this past summer), the show includes works by such masters as Josef Albers, Walter Gropius, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and László Moholy-Nagy, as well as by

  • THE MUSEUM ARCHITECTURE OF RENZO PIANO

    Renowned for elegant galleries that defer to their contents, Renzo Piano has quietly become the most prolific designer of art museums around the globe—signaling a decisive shift in taste among museum patrons from the bold to the more decorous. To mark last month’s unveiling of the majestic Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago, Artforum invited SEAN KELLER to take stock of Piano’s numerous museum projects, assessing their effect on the field of architecture and on the vast quantities of art they now house.

    NO LIVING ARCHITECT has shaped the character of the contemporary art museum more than Renzo Piano. The past quarter century has seen the completion of fourteen major commissions—nine in the past decade alone—yielding a roster of buildings that is unprecedented in its scope and prestige. Whether creating new institutions from the ground up, as at the Menil Collection in Houston and the Fondation Beyeler near Basel, or expanding already-sprawling quarters for encyclopedic collections in Los Angeles and Chicago, Piano has designed an influential portion of the spaces in which we see art today.

  • “Radical Nature: Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet, 1969–2009”

    Curator Francesco Manacorda’s exhibition in the heart of London promises to offer a landscape of artworks reflecting a nature that is every day less natural and more aberrant than the classic, idealized English garden.

    If the classic English garden is an artwork of landscape representing an idealized, pastoral nature, curator Francesco Manacorda’s exhibition in the heart of London promises to offer a landscape of artworks reflecting a nature that is every day less natural and more aberrant. The Barbican will present more than eighty works, in a variety of media, by twenty-five artists and architects—from Joseph Beuys, R. Buckminster Fuller, Hans Haacke, Robert Smithson, and the Ant Farm collective to a younger generation of practitioners, including EXYZT, Heather and Ivan Morison,

  • SEAN KELLER

    WE DON’T SAIL MUCH ANYMORE. This fact helps explain the particular distance that lies between our world and that of R. Buckminster Fuller. For, despite Fuller’s incessant, often prescient, projections of the future, and despite the fact that, speaking strictly chronologically, our present is that future, we live neither in Fuller’s world nor in any of the futures he imagined. Sailing, the essential reference of Fuller’s long, prolific career, is gone from our common experience. Instead of ocean liners we have airliners. And although Fuller was a pioneering frequent flier, he would never have

  • Beijing Olympics

    THE OLYMPIC GAMES as we know them were born out of a late-nineteenth-century marriage of classical mythology and political science fiction. They decree that every four years all the nations of the world will set aside their political struggles and come together to compete in proxy battles of sport; everyone will watch. Yet such a premise naively denies both the relentlessness of politics and the equally irrepressible need for political power to be represented, to be made into images. Having stubbornly refused to follow their script, the modern Olympics stand in collective memory as a series of

  • John Lautner

    This ambitious retrospective features more than one hundred works made between 1940 and 1994 (the year of the artist's death), including drawings, short films, and a slide show.

    Architect John Lautner's hillside houses and roadside restaurants stand as glamorous landmarks in the contradictory dreamscape of postwar Los Angeles. Contrived to deliver expansive views from difficult sites, they are eccentric, high-tech, nature-infatuated refuges from the freeway. This ambitious retrospective features more than one hundred works made between 1940 and 1994 (the year of Lautner's death), including drawings, short films, and a slide show. The most convincing heir of Frank Lloyd Wright's organicism, Lautner constantly struggled to

  • Le Corbusier: Art and Architecture

    Le Corbusier’s life was filled with Manichaean dualities, and the Mori Art Museum will provide an overview of one of them: Corbu’s painting, legendarily done only in the morning, versus his architecture, practiced after lunch. More than 250 paintings, drawings, sculptures, furniture pieces, photographs, videos, and models will be exhibited, along with walk-in reproductions of three spaces: the architect’s Paris atelier; Le Petite Cabanon, his house at Cap Martin on the French Riviera; and an apartment from the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille. Entering these high-modernist

  • Crown Hall and the Yale University Art Gallery

    “TO FIND OUT what architecture really is took me fifty years—half a century,” Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once admitted. Now another half century has passed since Mies completed his mature postwar buildings, and a wave of renovations is forcing us to reconsider what exactly he and his contemporaries found architecture to be and how to handle their discoveries. A convergence of age-related need, heightened historical appreciation, and persistent ignorance has produced a mixed record to date: ranging from the salutary reconstruction of Gordon Bunshaft’s Lever House and the conscientious forensic