The Slade Lectures in Fine Art 2011

The Slade Lectures in Fine Art 2011
The Slade Lectures in Fine Art 2011

One of the world’s leading and most widely known historians of nineteenth- and twentieth-century European and American architecture will be giving the prestigious Slade Lectures in Fine Art this term, starting tonight.

Barry Bergdoll, Professor of Art History at Columbia University, is a Visiting Fellow of King’s College during his two-month stay in Cambridge.

Professor Bergdoll has spent his entire academic career at Columbia, apart from a two-year interlude in the 1970s when he took a BA degree at Cambridge as a member of King’s College.

Since 2007 he has been working as The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The title of his Cambridge Slade Lectures series is Out of Site, in Plain View: The Modernity of the Architecture Exhibition since 1750.

Architecture is at once the most public of arts and the hardest to bring into the spaces of the gallery.

Yet, since the mid-eighteenth century, diverse techniques of architectural display have been developed.

Far from being poor substitutes for the real experience of architecture as a spatial art in situ, these techniques have been integral to architecture’s stakes in evolving discourses of Modernity.

By the mid-nineteenth century they had created a space for public debate, an autonomous history of architecture, and the capacity to craft national and colonial identities.

By the twentieth century the culture of display had become a strategy not only of emerging avant-gardes but also of international cultural and economic politics, of commerce, and of globalization.

Professor Bergdoll explains: "Exhibitions and bienales of architecture have exploded in recent years even as the press is filled with stories of the decline of so-called media driven ’Starchitecture’.

"It seems a propitious and compelling time to consider the historical conditions and contemporary uses and value of displaying architecture for the wider public. Such a history has yet to be written.

"This is a first attempt to account for the nature of architectural modernism since the Enlightenment in relation to new tactics of display."

The sequence of the eight Slade Lectures evolves through time, even as each introduces a new capacity for architecture itself, made possible through the culture of architectural exhibition.

The lectures will take place throughout the Lent Term on Mondays at 5 pm in Room A, The Arts School, Bene’t Street, beginning tomight. Entry is free and all are welcome.

Tonight’s lecture will be introduced by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz.

Out of Site, in Plain View: The Modernity of the Architecture Exhibition since 1750

24 January

Framed and Hung: Architecture and the Public from the Academies to the French Revolution

31 January

In and Out of Time: Curating Architecture’s History, 1789 to 1889

7 February

Not at home: Nation and Empire from the World’s Fairs to the Open Air Museum, 1851 to 1936

14 February

Better Futures, Visible Networks: The Exhibition as a Site of Housing and Urban Reform and the Invention of the Avant Garde, 1890-1932

21 February

Conflicting Visions: Exhibitions as Cultural and Political Discourse from the International Style to the Kitchen Debates, 1932 to 1959

28 February

Good Neighbours: The Museum of Modern Art and Latin America, 1933-1955

7 March

Circulating Images: Architectural Display between Commerce and Persuasion, 1945-1989

14 March

Architecture and the Rise of the Event Economy: From Post-Modernism to Starchitecture, 1981 to 2011