Opening Sept. 12 and continuing through March 25, 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design will be on display in the architecture and design galleries at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Curators at MoMA assembled a collection of more than 100 items that represent how architects and designers over the past 50 years have influenced the political climate. Architects were once considered at the forefront of political movements and change, but in recent decades their involvement has been more in the form of dissention through design or activism that focuses on one specific issue.
This exhibition identifies nine movements or trends in how the design industry uses its sway over public opinion to effect change in policy or government attitudes. Drawings, photographs, plans, and models are organized according to these movements. Some of the sections—such as Enacting Transparency, 1967-2011— look at how controversial, ironic, or radical design can be a statement of protest or rebellion. Other segments, including Occupying Social Borders, 1974-2011, examine the work of architects and designers who take advantage of their profession to instigate change. In this instance, how conditions for people faced with poverty and inequity can be addressed by architects.
Interrogating Shelter, 1971-2003, examines how the house represents the most common political statements by architects and designers. Both the style and function of most houses are conceived in direct or indirect reaction to political opinions, according to this section. Dwellings represent various family configurations, regional influences, conservative or progressive viewpoints, and other stances of the inhabitants and designers. The description for this exhibit segment says the house is most often is the manifestation of architectural political reflections,, “be it through psychoanalytical analysis of its everyday condition, inquiries into its formal or informal properties, or the reinvention of its more profound meanings and modes of organization.”
The architects and designers whose work will be highlighted in this exhibition include Teddy Cruz, Rem Koolhaas, Peter Eisenman, Bernard Tschumi, Will Alsop, Thom Mayne, Aldo RassiRossi, Gaetano Pesce, and many more. In addition, a performance piece called Ikea Disobedients by Spanish architect Andrés Andres Jacque will take place on Sept. 16 and 23. The performance explores domestic political expression through hacked Ikea components.