Exhibiting Architecture

In this seminar students will engage with curatorial studies and the specific domain of “exhibiting architecture.” Not only the “art of display,” from exhibition design to the conception of art spaces, but also the practice of curating has increasingly become an architectural concern. Architecture exhibitions are currently “en vogue,” so that architects are also expected to perform as curators, using exhibitions as a means of developing their practice in manifold ways. It is both paradoxical and challenging to represent the complexities of architecture or the urban realm within the space of an exhibition, which is necessarily displaced and therefore separated from the built, economic and societal context. We will study and question readings and strategies of exhibiting architecture. How can an exhibition articulate what we don’t know, rather than representing what we already know? How can exhibitions be dynamic and critical devices of experimentation?
As one investigation and exercise, we discuss how “exhibiting architecture” can be applied beyond the walls of the museum. Which curatorial strategies can shed light on existing, sometimes precarious and derelict buildings, which are “homeless in history,” neglected by official agencies of preservation and institutions of cultural memory? As a case study, we learn from the environmental sculptures of Beverly Buchanan—arrangements of monolithic mounds of concrete and cement that the artist placed throughout Georgia, USA, in the late 1970s and 1980s—and we also investigate the notion of “place markers.” Buchanan’s practice can be read as a critical form of exhibiting architecture. Through various readings and in particular Dolores Hayden’s treatise The Power of Place, we try to unravel histories of urban landscape and methods and thereby discover aspects often ignored by official representation in public art and architecture. We will research examples of curating architecture that counter official views of history and examine current societal contexts in order to address other narratives in urban landscapes.

Throughout the term we will be joined by numerous guests, artists, curators and scholars, contributing input lectures.

This course meets two times a week every other week.