The Museum of Modern Art will explore the architecture of the former Yugoslavia with Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980, the first major US exhibition to study the remarkable body of work that sparked international interest during the 45 years of the country’s existence. The exhibition will include more than 400 drawings, models, photographs, and film reels culled from an array of municipal archives, family-held collections, and museums across the region, introducing the exceptional built work of socialist Yugoslavia’s leading architects to an international audience for the first time.
The architecture that emerged during this period—from International Style skyscrapers to Brutalist “social condensers”—is a manifestation of the radical pluralism, hybridity, and idealism that characterized the Yugoslav state itself. Exploring themes of large-scale urbanization, technological experimentation and its application in everyday life, consumerism, monuments and memorialization, and the global reach of Yugoslav architecture, Toward a Concrete Utopia will feature work by important architects, including Bogdan Bogdanović, Juraj Neidhardt, Svetlana Kana Radević, Edvard Ravnikar, Vjenceslav Richter, and Milica Šterić. From the sculptural interior of the White Mosque in rural Bosnia, to the post-earthquake reconstruction of the city of Skopje based on Kenzo Tange’s Metabolist design, to the new town of New Belgrade with its expressive large-scale housing blocks and civic buildings, the exhibition will examine the unique range of forms and modes of production in Yugoslav architecture and its distinct yet multifaceted character.
Organized by Martino Stierli, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and Vladimir Kulić, guest curator, with Anna Kats, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.
Generous funding for the exhibition is provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
Additional support is provided by the Annual Exhibition Fund.
News and exhibition description via MoMA.
TitleToward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948– 1980
FromJuly 15, 2018 10:00 AM
UntilJanuary 13, 2019 08:00 PM
VenueThe Museum of Modern Art
French photographer Jonk drove over 5,000 kilometers through southeast Europe. His subject matter? Yugoslavian monuments, or "spomenik" in Serbian. Built in the 1960s and 70s under former president Josep Broz Tito, these monuments commemorate the communist resistance during the German occupation.
For many years, Yugoslavia's futuristic "Spomenik" monuments were hidden from the majority of the world, shielded from the public eye by their remote locations within the mountains and forests of Eastern Europe. That is, until the late 2000s, when Belgian photographer Jan Kempenaers began capturing the abstract sculptures and pavilions and posting his photographs to the internet.
Commissioned by former Yugoslavian president, Josip Broz Tito in the 1960s and 70s to commemorate sites where WWII battles took place, these now forgotten structures stand empty and without the significance it once had decades ago.