Deconstructivists Exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: The skewed, poetic distortions of modernism presented at MOMA enriched a pluralistic design scene but revealed the confused politics and aims of avant-garde architecture.
Summary of Event
“Deconstructivist Architecture” was the belated public debut of a tendency that had been developing for several years. Postmodernism, using past styles to break modernism’s stifling insistence on logic and function, was the leading architectural force of the 1980’s. During the years in which postmodernism took shape, however, some architects had used theoretical projects to advance a less simple approach. Like the postmodernists, they denied modernism’s simplistic “form follows function” rules, welcomed visual and conceptual complexity, and stressed architecture’s confused social situation. Yet they kept modernism’s abstract forms, industrial materials, and visible structural elements. These were combined in unsettling, seemingly chaotic ways--attacking just those qualities of stability, harmony, and intelligibility that the public valued in postmodernism.
The approach was most intensely pursued at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (IAUS) in New York City, a study and exhibition center run by Peter Eisenman. The IAUS had supported postmodernist architects as well, and Eisenman was first linked with that movement, as were the unusual designs of Frank Gehry. Postmodernism’s...
(The entire section is 2060 words.)
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