Utopia's Ghost: Postmodernism Reconsidered

Exhibition, Octagonal gallery, 28 February 2008 to 25 May 2008

Through the work of internationally renowned architects, this exhibition reveals the presence of utopian modernist ideas thought to have been discarded with the advent of the postmodern era.

According to the exhibition’s lead curator Reinhold Martin, much of the architectural production of the last half-century has been haunted by the ghosts of modernist utopias: “The projects documented in the exhibition are understood as bearers of a latent discourse that contradicts the very same anti-utopian currents that many of these projects have been thought to represent.” The work of Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, John Hejduk, Arata Isozaki, Aldo Rossi, James Stirling, Robert Venturi, and others is presented through models, drawings, and renderings from the CCA collection. The reproductions and originals representing a selection of projects of the 1970s and 1980s take on the character of evidence assembled within five subject groups that trace a utopian afterlife: Babble/Babel, Islands, Roads to Nowhere, (In)human Scale, and Worlds within Worlds. In this reorganization, the curators challenge the traditional understanding of postmodernism and offer a new framework for approaching the architecture of this period. The installation juxtaposes original works against a grid of duplicated reference images assembled by the curators.

Utopia’s Ghost is the third in a series of CCA exhibitions developed in collaboration with universities.

Curated by Reinhold Martin, Columbia University, with Cristina Goberna, Brian Ackley, Marta Caldeira, Meir Lobaton Corona, Greta Hansen, Katherine Heck, Nika Grabar, Sharif Khalje, Karen Kubey, Ciro Miguel, Troy Therrien, Susan Thompson, Eirini Tsachrelia, Dimitra Tsachrelia, Elena Vanz, and Micheal Young.

Other exhibitions in the series
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