MoMA Exhibit: 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design

Jason Crum (American, 1935-2004). Project for a Painted Wall, New York City, New York. Perspective. 1969. Courtesy of MoMA: 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political

MoMA‘s new installation 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political will exhibit works from the museum’s collection that offer fresh perspectives on the last 50 years of architecture that is a signature of the evolving conditions of our political context. The exhibit is in response to the general perspectives of today that consider architecture as having been overwhelmed by our economic realities. Through a range of media, including a performance piece by Andrés Jaque Arquitectos (at MoMA PS1 on September 16 and 23), 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political argues that architecture maintains its political influence with a variety of critiques that span decades. The exhibit is divided into nine sections and examines the blurs between social, political and public space in which architecture resides. 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design opens tomorrow, September 12th, and will run through March 25, 2013.

The exhibit is organized by Pedro Gadanho, Curator, and Margot Weller, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design and includes 100 cross departmental works from MoMA’s collection.  The work ranges from architectural projects to work by artists, photographers and designers involved in the urban realm.  The nine featured sections follow a span of history and a dominant philosophy within each.

Radical Stances, 1961-1973 explores the neo-avant-garde movements that criticized Modernist ideas in response to the social changes brought on by World War II and the emphasis on functionalism.

Fictional, speculative and distopian ideas dominated the works of Rem Koolhaas, Bernard Tschumi, and architectural firm Superstudio.  Fiction & Dystopia, 1963-1978, explores these ideas in response to the failed idealism of utopia in political systems.

Deconstruction, 1975-1999 explores the works of Gordon MattaClark, Lebbeus Woods, and Thom Mayne/Morphosis in their disruption of conventional aesthetics and spatial delineations as a form of rebellion towards the established norm.

Consuming Brandscapes, 1969–2004 takes a look at how architectural firms have been influenced by branding, established styles and market driven architecture.  It explores how corportaions, institutions, public spaces, society and even cities have established a set of aesthetics, collectively considered a brand, to appeal to tourism, expenditure and economic success.

Exploring public space and tensions of private and public domains, the works of Emilio Ambasz, Will Alsop, Jurgen Mayer H., and West 8 in Performing Public Space, 1978-2011.

Iconoclasm, 1964-2003 explores the rebellious strategies that architects have used to break down the rules and constraints of architecture through the work of Hans Hollein in the 1960s and Diller Scofidio in the 1980s.

Enacting Transparency, 1967–2011 looks at transparency both as a material technique as well as an aspect of democratic ideals.  It includes works such as Jean Nouvel’s Fondation Cartier and Kazuyo Sejima’s Saishunkan Seiyaku Women’s Dormitory.

Occupying Social Borders, 1974–2011 looks at work conducted by architects like Teddy Cruz, Didier Faustino, and the collective raumlaborberlin that seek to find custom solutions for social and political situations outside of the accepted standards.  It seeks to be pro-active about conditions of poverty and inequality that requires hands-on solutions and research.

Interrogating Shelter, 1971–2003 takes a look at the retrospective nature of architects and artists that are searching for the quintessential elements of refuge and shelter.  This sections looks at work from artist Marjetica Potrc, designer Michael Rakowitz, architect-designer Gaetano Pesce, architecture collective Ant Farm, and architect Peter Eisenman.

Politics of the Domestic, 2002–2011 presents Ikea Disobedients, a performance by Spanish architect Andrés Jaque that was first performed in Madrid and recently acquired by MoMA. The performance is in dialogue with Reynold Reynolds and Patrick Jolley’s video installation Burn and looks at the focal point of domestic expression and seek to break out of the box defined by residential versus community focus in domestic life.

For more information and on the exhibit and for visiting hours visit, MoMA.

About this author
Cite: Irina Vinnitskaya. "MoMA Exhibit: 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design" 11 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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