Friday, January 8, 2010

October 27, 2009 - January 16, 2010: Breuer Retrospective @ Central

Image Credit: Susan B.


Max Eternity - A special thanks goes out to art historian, curator and photographer, Susan B, who took these recent photos of the "Marcel Breuer Retrospective" exhibition currently on display at the Breuer designed, Central Library in Downtown Atlanta. The exhibit, co-hosted at the Museum of Design Atlanta and The Atlanta-Fulton Central Public Library has been on display since October of 2009, and is soon to come to a close on January 16, 2010.

In the last 2 years the Central Library has found itself at the center of a controversial restructuring plan for the entire public library system, which threatened to see the building torn down, to be replace by a newer, slightly larger building a few blocks away. However, with a terribly stalled national economy and a renewed interest in architecture of the Modernist-era, the building has surprisingly become more popular--more appreciated.

Over the weekend I had an email exchange with John Szabo, Executive Director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, who made these remarks about the Breuer Retrospective:

“The Central Library’s ‘Marcel Breuer’ exhibition has brought in thousands of people since it opened, both local patrons and many new visitors from the Southeast and the world. Both those visitors who are well-informed about Breuer’s place in architectural history and those who are meeting his work for the first time, take away a greater understanding of Breuer and his last completed project, the Central Library. The exhibition is a wonderful way for us to celebrate not only Marcel Breuer but also the Central Library. We hope that those who have not yet come to see the exhibition will use the last two weeks in January to stop by and see what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution named one of the ’10 Best Art Exhibitions of 2009.”

Since the exhibition's well-attended opening reception, there has been a steady stream of lectures and presentations going on at the building. Yet beyond that, not just in Atlanta, much has been written and said about the legacy of the Bauhaus school, where Breuer studied and taught, as this year the now defunct institution celebrates its 90th Anniversary.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is currently displaying its first major exhibition of the Bauhaus since 1938, entitled "1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity", and many books and magazine articles have been published on the subject as well, indicating a new, resurgent interest in Modernism, for which the Bauhaus is largely responsible for introducing to the world nearly a century ago.

The presentation at Central will reach its peak next week, when Professor Barry Bergdoll, Chief Curator of Architecture @ MoMA, arrives to give his on site talk and presentation bearing the title "Marcel Breuer and the Invention of Heavy Lightness."

The following images are all courtesy of Susan B:

Scale model of Atlanta's Central Library by Marcel Breuer (notice the
left, South-facing side of the building in the adjacent photo)

Scale model of Atlanta's Central Library (notice the original,
sculpted, forecourt plaza design, its asymmetrical gradation)

Scale model of Atlanta's Central Library by Marcel Breuer

Scale model of St. Johns Abbey

Scale model of St. John's Abbey (cross-section)

Scale model of St. John's Abbey (campanile in foreground)

Scale model of Bronx Community College

Scale model and site photos of Bronx Community College

Scale model of Baldegg Convent

Scale model of Baldegg Convent

Scale model of the Whitney Museum of American Art

Scale model of the Whitney Museum of American Art

Assorted furniture (circa: 1925)

Plywood and tubular metal furniture assortment (circa: 1925)

Various chaise lounges and tables (circa: 1925)

Large plywood table and matching chairs (circa: 1925)

Stackable plywood chairs (circa: 1925)