New York

“Deconstructivist Architecture”

The media build-up for this Philip Johnson–curated exhibition was long and relentless. However, neither the build-up nor the reported reservations of some of the participating architects, nor a questionable organizing thesis were able to undermine the superior quality work on view. Still, “Deconstructivist Architecture” will probably be remembered as this year’s exhibition that everyone loved to hate. I found its many obvious ironies both amusing and irresistible.

The conceptual premise of the exhibition was based on the grouping of a loose coalition of architects whose work reveals the inherent impurity and unpredictability of the architectonic language. The work delights in the uncovering of architecture’s instability, its flaws, its acquired infirmity. This premise sounds like the groundwork for a new style—an answer to the leveling consequences of post-Modernism—but the catalogue essays

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