The exhibition Architecture Itself and Other Postmodernist Myths presents many ignored and inconvenient contingencies of postmodernist architectural practice. Traces of these external forces are often left in forgotten documents, the salvage of ordinary processes, and assembling them disturbs the smooth maintenance of the myths of architectural autonomy. Looking beyond North America, the series Meanwhile, in… considers the role of changed contexts in shaping postmodernisms elsewhere, by assembling case studies from other countries, with other cultural concerns and other contingencies.
The exhibition Nouveaux plaisirs d’architecture (New pleasures in architecture) was curated by Jean Dethier for the Centre Pompidou where it opened in winter 1985, restaging the essential parts of the opening exhibition of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum and adding a few French projects. That spring, the Institut français d’architecture, an institution with a national platform, presented a counter-exhibition curated by Kenneth Frampton and Michel Kagan and titled Nouvelles directions de l’architecture moderne : France/USA (New directions in modern architecture: France/USA). Outside of formal disputes between terms like neo- and post-modern, these events reveal the geopolitical play of postmodernism and its circulation in a globalized industrial culture.
Pierre Chabard is an architect, historian, architectural critic, assistant professor at the École nationale supérieure d’architecture Paris La-Villette, and founding member of the magazine Criticat.
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