PHANTOM. Mies as Rendered Society by Andrés Jaque recently acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago

PHANTOM. Mies as Rendered Society is a provocative site-specific intervention developed by Andrés Jaque for the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe–designed Barcelona Pavilion in 2012 and recently reconceived and acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago.

This installation aims to unravel the myth of Mies van der Rohe as a solitary genius. Fundació Mies commissioned Andrés Jaque in 2012 to create a site-specific intervention in Mies’s most famous building, the Barcelona Pavilion. The original Pavilion of 1929 was reconstructed in 1986 with the fundamental addition of a basement. Jaque’s installation focused on this lower level, which was an overlooked yet significant part of the building, introducing new questions for contemporary scholarship about Mies.

On Monday, November 18th the Art Institute of Chicago is organizing the lecture PHANTOM: Mies As Rendered Society By Andrés Jaque — Backstage Notes On Collecting Architecture, a conversation where Jaque along curator Maite Borjabad will discuss the narratives of the work and will reveal the complex acquisition process behind this unique installation.

The intervention exposes—like the phantom of the Pavilion’s past—the building’s hidden context: the networks of people, technologies, and institutions that made it possible. PHANTOM. Mies as Rendered Society consists of all the objects and materials found in the basement that have contributed to rebuilding and maintaining Mies’s iconic building and reputation. This installation includes architectural fragments such as the velvet curtain, travertine plates, a spare Barcelona chair now broken, as well as contemporary cleaning products and devices that support the Pavilion’s maintenance. Together these objects reveal the Barcelona Pavilion as a social construction resulting from specific technological moments and civic initiatives. 

The work is currently on view in the permanent collection galleries of Architecture & Design at the Art Institute of Chicago, and is for sure a not to be missed milestone work.

If interested in attending this lecture where museum protocols and questions related to collecting architecture will be unpacked, you can find more information here. The presence of architecture in museums is still contested, and so this lecture will position some key questions related to acquisition processes, issues of cultural heritage or the complexities presented for spatial practices to belong as part of a museum collection.

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Cite: "PHANTOM. Mies as Rendered Society by Andrés Jaque recently acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago" 11 Nov 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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