The Berlage

Session Room K

Confessions of a Historian in the Museum: Architecture and Its Publics

Barry Bergdoll

What is the role of the architecture museum today?  In the 1970s and 1980s numerous new institutions were created or rehoused from Frankfurt to Montreal to Rotterdam to Paris to Stockholm… And nearly each one of these institutions has been through an intense period of questioning recently from without or from within. At the same time bienales of architecture are popping up globally. Having been at the helm for nearly a decade of the oldest museum department devoted to architecture, the Museum of Modern Art, Barry Bergdoll will offer at once a view on the longue durée of the paradoxical notion of exhibiting architecture and an optimistic prognosis for the vital role that such institutions can play now and in the near future. As both a historian and a curator, Bergdoll will discuss a current historical project – a book on the curious history of exhibiting architecture – as well as present several projects undertaken in the last decade at MoMA in New York.

Barry Bergdoll is the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Columbia University. He served as The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design from 2007 to 2013. His scholarship focuses on modern architectural history with a particular emphasis on France and Germany since 1800. At MoMA he organized, curated, and consulted on several major exhibitions of 19th and 20th-century architecture, including “Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980” (2015) and “Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light” (2013). He is the author and editor of numerous publications, including Mies in Berlin (2001); European Architecture 1750-1890, in the Oxford History of Art series (2001); Karl Friedrich Schinkel: An Architecture for Prussia (1994); and Léon Vaudoyer: Historicism in the Age of Industry (1994).  

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