Launch Slideshow

Best of Exhibits 2013

Best of Exhibits 2013

  • Ezra Stoller: Beyond Architecture


    Ezra Stoller.

    Leading the 20th-century vanguard of architectural photography, Chicago-born Ezra Stoller was a favorite of Modernist masters, handpicked to capture the likes of Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal, Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer’s UN Headquarters, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building. Chelsea photography gallery Yossi Milo presents a collection of his most iconic works, alongside his lesser known images of workers engaging with mid-century industrial America: conveyor belts, television factories, construction sites, and printing plants. • Yossi Milo Gallery, Jan. 24–March 2

  • Lebbeus Woods Architect


    Lebbeus Woods. SCAB building, part of Pamphlet Architecture 15: War and Architecture, 1993.

    Following the untimely death of a luminary whose brilliance transcended the boundaries of the architectural world, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents a retrospective of the late Lebbeus Woods. The museum surveys 75 works that span 35 years of his career. From fragmented drawings of structures that could never be built to dystopian foreign universes that barely resembled reality, Woods conveyed a profound consideration of the built environment and the way people reside in it. • SFMOMA, Feb. 16–June 2, 2013

  • The Way We Live


    Iwan Baan. The City and the Storm, 2012.

    While he’s made his name capturing the humanity behind the world’s most iconic architecture, the label "architectural photographer" kept Iwan Baan’s name off the radar—and off the roster—of fine art galleries until the release of "The City and the Storm." That was the arresting aerial shot of a post-Hurricane Sandy New York half-shrouded in darkness, which graced the cover of New York Magazine after the storm. Having called the attention of the nation, he’s been recently scooped up for representation by Los Angeles's Perry Rubenstein Gallery, where his inaugural show will feature large-scale works centered around this now-iconic photograph. • Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Feb. 20–April 13

  • Never Built: Los Angeles


    LAX Flight Path Learning Center. Original LAX scheme by Pereira and Luckman.

    Exploring Los Angeles's hypothetical urban landscape through unrealized floorplans, renderings, and models, "Never Built: Los Angeles" presents the unrealized potential of one of the nation's premier cities. Co-curators Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin, convinced that "in Los Angeles a genius for public architecture is largely missing," present the projects with the greatest power to reshape the city by virtue of their own brilliance. Those include the green space that the Olmsted Brothers and Harland Bartholomew's "Plan for the Los Angeles Region" (1930) would have provided for the parkless city as well as OMA's 2001 proposal to join the compartmentalized Los Angeles County Museum of Art compound under a single plastic roof. "Never Built" follows in the footsteps of similar unbuilt-themed exhibitions in Dallas and Washington, D.C. In these surveys, the act of examining what doesn't exist proposes that we question what does. • Architecture + Design Museum, March 2–May 17

  • Palaces for the People: Guastavino and America’s Great Public Spaces


    Emilio Guerra. The abandoned City Hall subway station in New York.

    The system of interlocking tiles and layers of mortar developed by Rafael Guastavino Sr., a renowned 19th-century Catalan architect, are essential parts of major Beaux-Arts landmarks throughout the United States—from Grand Central Terminal to the Boston Public Library to the U.S. Supreme Court. Overshadowed by the principal architects of these buildings, Guastavino and his son, Rafael Jr., never received the full recognition they deserved. The National Building Museum intends to elevate the name of these vastly influential but under-appreciated innovators with “Places for the People,” a collection of drawings, large-scale color photographs, scale models, videos, and a full-scale tiled vault brought to you by the International Masonry Institute. Organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's John Ochsendorf, this survey seeks to convey the Guastavinos' vast contributions to American architecture. • National Building Museum, March 16–Sept. 2

  • A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California


    Tom Bonner. Samitaur Tower by Eric Owen Moss Architects in Culver City, Calif.

    As part of "Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in Los Angeles"—the building-oriented offshoot of the Getty Center’s West Coast-centric festival of art that last year brought you Ice Cube’s eloquent eulogizing of the Eames’s Case Study House—one exhibit serves as a formal investigation of the last 25 years in the quintessentially Southern Californian avant-garde. "A New Sculpturalism" begins with stylistic pioneers (including Frank Gehry, FAIA; Thom Mayne, FAIA; and Owen Moss, FAIA) and charts their subsequent influence on contemporary firms (Michael Maltzan Architecture, Morphosis Architects, Neil M. Denari Architects among them). • Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, April 21–July 29

  • Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes


    Museum of Modern Art. Le Corbusier with Pierre Jeanneret, model, Villa Savoye Poissy-sur-Seine, France, 1929–31.

    The glorified and multi-talented architect and designer Le Corbusier has lesser-known identities, one being Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, the name he was given at birth, and another as an artist, a talent that took a backseat to his creation of iconic buildings. The Museum of Modern Art presents the architect’s largest exhibition ever in New York, an all-encompassing look at his career, including his fine art pursuits. From his watercolors of the Mediterranean to his photographs of locales worldwide, the exhibition sheds light on the complete breadth of his creativity. • MoMA, June 9–Sept. 23

Ezra Stoller had a banner year in 2012. To name just one (self-serving) example, a monograph of the architectural photographer's work made it to ARCHITECT's list of the best books of the year. It looks as though Stoller's streak will continue in 2013 with an exhibit at Yossi Milo Gallery

It's not rare for such an established photographer to receive this kind of posthumous recognition (Stoller died in 2004). Rarely do commercial galleries and contemporary art museums take notice of photographers while they are alive. It was fortunate that, last April, California's Woodbury University School of Architecture mounted a spring exhibit of the work of Pedro E. Guerrero—the photographer of Frank Lloyd Wright's work and an ARCHITECT favorite—before his death in September. The coming year will see another architectural photographer honored in his own time: On Dec. 18, 2012, Los Angeles's Perry Rubenstein Gallery announced it is representing Iwan Baan and putting on a show of his work in 2013. 

It did not hurt Baan that one of the most visible images following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy was his cover shot for New York Magazine. This widespread recognition reflects the fact that Baan is a talented photographer. Yet the Baan gallery show, and several other prominent exhibits on the 2013 calendar, also reveal the growing understanding of the structures and infrastructure that make up the built environment and, to a certain extent, determine and define our lives. It was Le Corbusier who called the house a machine for living in, but several 2013 exhibits appear to make the case that the house is merely a cog. Consider "Never Built: Los Angeles," a show that considers the schemes that might have circumvented some of that city's worst dysfunctions. Perhaps even "Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes," the largest Corb show ever for New York, will acknowledge the broad role of the city in shaping structure.

Not everyone's swept up with the recent fever for cities. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is showing off Southern California's sculpturalist architecture—buildings that hardly need the context of cities. And an exhibit on the Guastavinos considers an invisible but important part of the nation's building history. Not all of the best exhibits of 2013 have much to do with buildings that have been or could be built (see "Lebbeus Woods Architect"). In one way or another—from Los Angeles to New York City, from commercial storefront gallery to towering museum institution—architecture will get its due in 2013.