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Architectural Drawings as History, Between Concepts and Objects

Thu, Nov 9, 2017    7pm

Architectural Drawings as History, Between Concepts and Objects
Lecture by Jordan Kauffman, Architectural Historian, Brandeis University and MIT

Prior to the late 20th century architectural drawings were primarily recognized as practical tools for building; they were not seen to have value in and of themselves. In the 1970s and 1980s, however, an epochal shift occurred where drawings became understood as object in their own right, first as salable goods in the art market and finally as objects with historical value. This changed our understanding of architecture and architecture’s history, and concerns ultimately centered on best practices for the preservation of architectural drawings and their accessibility to future researchers. This lecture will trace the development of this phenomenon through a reconstruction of a network of galleries, collectors, institutions, exhibitions and events that were integral to this shift. Key protagonists include the Leo Castelli Gallery, the Max Protetch Gallery, the Gilman Paper Company, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Deutches Architekturmuseum, the Getty, the International Council of Architecture Museums, and the Architectural Drawings Advisory Group.

Jordan Kauffman is an architectural historian whose work spans from the Renaissance to the late twentieth century. He is currently a lecturer in architectural history at Brandeis University and Research Affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His present research focuses particularly on architectural drawings and representations. His forthcoming book, Drawing on Architecture: The Object of Lines, 1970-1990 (MIT Press, 2018) uses extensive interviews and archival research to trace the networks of individuals, collectors, galleries, and museums, and the development of a market for architectural drawings that influenced the perceptions of architectural representations during the 1970s and 1980s. He holds a PhD in History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture from MIT, an MA in Histories and Theories of Architecture from the Architectural Association, London, and a BA in Architectural Studies from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.