PRINT April 2003


1988: “Deconstructivist Architecture”

Bernard Tschumi, Folie Transformation, 1986, ink and watercolor on paper,  26 1/16 x 20 3/4

“DECONSTRUCTIVIST ARCHITECTURE,” curated by Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley, opened at the Museum of Modern Art in June 1988. It seemed at first sight to be a heterogeneous affair, cobbled together from drawings and models of the mostly unbuilt work of seven architects assembled beneath a neologism suggestive at once of the Russian avant-garde movement of the ’20s and the interpretative approach to literary and philosophical analysis pioneered by Jacques Derrida. Following the tactics employed by Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock in their 1932 “Modern Architecture” exhibition at MoMA, “Deconstructivism” sought to bring art-historical order to work that was united primarily by its opposition to the historical pastiche associated with postmodernism. The catalogue essays, however, disclaimed that a new style was in the making. Johnson asserted that while in 1932 he was on a “quest

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