Lessons from Bernard Rudofsky is the first retrospective to examine the life and work of the controversial architect, designer, and critic whose groundbreaking buildings, exhibitions, and fashion designs challenged the Western world’s perceptions of comfort and culture. The exhibition highlights the diverse contributions of a unique and underappreciated pioneer of modernism, and brings to light the relevance of Rudofsky’s principles today.

Over two hundred works, including original drawings, watercolours, photographs, and densely filled notebooks from Rudofsky’s travels, offer a comprehensive view of his work and the life he shared with his wife and collaborator, Berta Rudofsky. The exhibition spans Rudofsky’s entire career, including his roots in the early years of European modernism; his world travels, which shaped his views as a designer and critic; and his influence as a curator and writer on international discourse on architecture, fashion, and design. Rudofsky is perhaps best known for the exhibitions and publications he conceived in the second half of the twentieth century. The most famous of these is Architecture Without Architects, the landmark book and exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (1964), which challenged conventional notions of architecture and dwelling through its study of vernacular building technologies and alternative ways of living. The objects featured derive mainly from the Rudofsky archive at The Getty Research Institute as well as the Bernard Rudofsky Estate in Vienna.

The exhibition was first presented at the Architekturzentrum Wien in Vienna, Austria, from 8 March to 28 May 2007 and travelled to The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, USA, from 11 March to 8 June 2008.

Curators: Monika Platzer, Architekturzentrum Wien, and Wim de Wit, The Getty Research Institute.
Exhibition design: Polar÷, Vienna.
Graphic design: Zab Design and Typography, Winnipeg.

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