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Architecture and the Art Museum

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The New York Public Library: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Celeste Auditorium

476 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

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What is the place of the museum in the modern city? What role does architecture play? How can these buildings be effectively interpreted?

Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan broke with all existing conventions, setting a new standard for the postwar art museum and, together with the Museum of Modern Art, firmly establishing the city of New York as the cultural capital of the 20th century. A decade later, the significance of this new architectural genre was not lost on Georges Pompidou when he commissioned the cultural center that would eventually carry his name—and launch the successful careers of its architects, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers—hoping that it would position Paris as New York’s cultural rival.

Beginning with the examples of the Guggenheim and the Centre Pompidou, this panel discussion considers the role of the museum in the postwar city, and how its position has evolved in the years since, as museum projects have grown in scale, number, and prominence. Some have argued that a phenomenon of “museum mania” has emerged, with every city feeling the need to build a museum designed by a star architect in order to effectively compete. Join Francesco Dal Co, Anthony Alofsin, Troy Conrad Therrien, Billie Tsien and Tod Williams and a special guest as they discuss the complex and changing relationship between architecture and the art museum and consider how historians can best research, write about, and understand these contemporary monuments. The discussion is moderated by Arezoo Moseni.

In The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Iconoclastic Masterpiece, architectural historian and critic Francesco Dal Co relates the gripping story of this iconic museum and documents the 17 tumultuous years that Wright invested in the project. As Dal Co reveals, the Guggenheim ultimately came to be recognized as the most important building of Wright’s late career, setting a new standard for the postwar art museum.

With Centre Pompidou: Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, and the Making of a Modern Monument, Dal Co reconstructs the building’s history and situates the Pompidou project in the midst of the turbulent student protests of 1968. After tracing the building’s political context and intellectual roots, Dal Co details the design elements and engineering techniques that made it possible for the Centre Pompidou to appear modern while simultaneously channeling architectural memory and seamlessly connecting to the surrounding city.

Copies of Centre Pompidou (2016) and The Guggenheim (2017), the first two books in Yale University Press’s Great Architects / Great Buildings series, are available for purchase and signing at the end of the event.


Doors open at 6 PM.

For more information on this program, visit our website.

Access to this event is first come, first served. Any unfilled seats will be released 5 minutes before the program begins.

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Date and Time

Location

The New York Public Library: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Celeste Auditorium

476 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

View Map

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