Breuer Exhibition Gallery Talk by Teresa Harris on March 24th

Teresa Harris, project coordinator for the Library’s Breuer NEH grant will give a gallery talk, Creating a Digital Archive, on Thursday, March 24th at 5:15 p.m. in the Slocum Gallery at the Syracuse University School of Architecture. Her talk is in conjunction with the School of Architecture exhibition “Marcel Breuer and Postwar America”.
The show was curated by Syracuse Architecture students as part of a seminar on the Bauhaus architect taught by visiting professor Barry Bergdoll, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, with Jonathan Massey, Syracuse Architecture associate professor and undergraduate chair. The exhibition is the outcome of their work in the extensive Breuer archive at the Syracuse University Library Special Collections Research Center. It features images of 120 drawings, as well as photographs, documenting thirteen of Breuer’s major postwar buildings and projects. Full-scale reproductions highlight themes that characterized some of Breuer’s lesser-known major work and document his responses to the needs and opportunities of postwar American society.
Breuer (1902-1981) was a leading figure among the second generation of modernist architects whose striking designs for furniture, houses, institutions, and commercial buildings helped to set the shape and style of modernity in Europe and the United States, leading “Time” magazine to characterize him as one of the “form givers of the 20th century.” His works include the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
The exhibition runs through March 29 with a closing reception on March 22nd at 6:30 p.m. in the Slocum Gallery. The reception follows a lecture by Pippo Ciorra, Senior Curator at the MAXXI Architettura, Rome in the Slocum Auditorium at 5 p.m.
“Breuer’s archive is a great resource for understanding how modern architecture transformed between the 1920s to the 1970s. As the students worked through parts of the collection, they found drawings that illuminate the way Breuer gave form to the materials, institutions, and communities of postwar America,” said Barry Bergdoll. “I look forward to seeing the work installed in Slocum Gallery.”
“The experience of working with a scholar of Bergdoll’s stature doing primary research drawing on archival materials provided a vivid academic experience. We are delighted to partner with the University Library to generate this project,” said Mark Robbins, dean of the Syracuse University School of Architecture.
“This exhibition demonstrates the capacity of collaboration to activate the potential of the research university,” said Jonathan Massey. “Connecting students with the Breuer archive and its archivists allowed them to do primary research and generate new knowledge about modern architecture.”
Along with Bergdoll and Massey, staff from the Special Collections Research Center of the Library assisted students with the development of the show. The installation was designed by Jon Lott, assistant professor and principal of PARA-Project. Graphic design is by Brett Snyder, assistant professor and principal of Cheng + Snyder.
“Marcel Breuer and Postwar America” was produced and supported by the School of Architecture as part of a collaboration with the Syracuse University Library and its Special Collections Research Center directed by Sean Quimby. In 2009, the Library received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to create a digital edition of part of Breuer’s papers, which he began donating to the University in 1964. The Research Center is completing a web design for the digital edition of the archive, planned for release in December 2011, allowing students, architects, and scholars around the world to continue the research initiated with the current exhibition.
“I am pleased that the Library’s NEH grant enabled us to bring Breuer’s work to light and provided the spark for this ongoing partnership with Architecture faculty and students,” said Suzanne Thorin, dean of the University Library.
Syracuse Architecture seeks to educate students broadly and to approach skill and technique with the same vitality as a comprehensive knowledge of the world. For more information, visit soa.syr.edu. All events are free and open to the public.





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