MIT Museum exhibits original works by Zaha Hadid, Arata Isozaki, Bernard Tschumi, and other postmodernists this spring

Drawing After Modernism

MIT Museum exhibits original works by Zaha Hadid, Arata Isozaki, Bernard Tschumi, and other postmodernists this spring

Parc de la Villette, Perspective Folie J7, 1985, Paris, France, ink and airbrush on paper. MIT Museum 2018.011.074. Gift of Danielle and Martin E. Zimmerman '59. (© Bernard Tschumi)

Starting April 12, a bevy of original drawings by canonical postmodern architects will be on view at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The group show, entitled Drawing After Modernism, is curated by Jonathan Duval, MIT Museum’s assistant curator of architecture and design.

In total, 41 original works will be exhibited. Among these will be drawings by Thomas Beeby, Laurence Booth, Melvin Charney, Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Zaha Hadid, John Hejduk, Arata Isozaki, Helmut Jahn, Louis Kahn, OMA/Rem Koolhaas, Peter Pran, Aldo Rossi, Paul Rudolph, Robert A.M. Stern, Stanley Tigerman, Bernard Tschumi, and James Wines.

Aldo Rossi drawing of buildings and cans
Teatro Veneziano, 1981, Venice, Italy, ink, crayon, oil pastel, and varnish on paper, 11 3/4 in x 8 1/4 in. MIT Museum 2018.011.060. Gift of Danielle and Martin E. Zimmerman 59.  (© Eredi Aldo Rossi/Courtesy Fondazione Aldo Rossi)

The time period on view—the 1970s and 1980s—represents a tremendous moment of flux in architecture, Duval said. It was then when western architects began challenging modernism’s dogmatism, and its “dull, rigid, and formulaic forms.” Thus, the goal of postmodern architecture was to upend both the “look and purpose” of modern architecture through experimentation and individualism.

Drawing After Modernism, museum officials added, showcases work that represents this period with a broad spectrum of graphics from architectural history. Each of the 41 drawings is an intimate record of creative expression blurring the lines of art and practice.

Zaha Hadid drawing on view in MIT Museum exhibition
Kurfürstendamm 70, Blue Elevation, 1986–1987, Berlin, Germany, acrylic paint on paper mounted to canvas, 37 3/4 in x 50 3/8 in. MIT Museum 2018.011.030. Gift of Danielle and Martin E. Zimmerman 59.  (© Zaha Hadid Foundation)

“For architects who saw themselves as originators of creative ideas rather than just creators of buildings, drawing was the medium closest to the original concept,” Duval said in a statement. “On their own, these drawings are captivating works of art. In this period, drawing was increasingly viewed as a primary medium of expression for architectural ideas, as opposed to just a necessary step in the design process.”

Rem Koolhaus series of building drawings
Churchillplein Office Building, circa 1984, Rotterdam, Netherlands, colored pencil and ink with collage on photocopy, 23 1/2 in x 31 1/2 in. MIT Museum 2018.011.044. Gift of Danielle and Martin E. Zimmerman 59. (© OMA/Rem Koolhaas)

Today, the MIT Museum archives contain over 30,000 architectural drawings. The original works on view at Drawing After Modernism come from the collection of Martin E. and Danielle Zimmerman. In 2017, the Zimmermans gifted their collection of postmodern drawings by Hadid, Graves, Hejduk, and many others to the MIT Museum.

The retrospective will be sited in the Ronald A. and Carol S. Kurtz Photography Gallery.

Drawing After Modernism will stay open through October 27.