The Museum of Modern Art in New York, established in 1929, played an important role in the propagation of modern architecture. The Department of Architecture and Design was founded in 1932 as the first museum department in the world dedicated to the intersection of architecture and design. Philip Johnson, the department’s first head, directed, with Henry-Russell Hitchcock, the Museum’s 1932 ‘Modern Architecture –International Exhibition’ and they wrote the famous accompanying book The International Style. Barry Bergdoll, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA since January 2007, and a professor of art history at Columbia since 1985, discusses with DASH his efforts to expand MoMA’s role to support experimentation and advocacy in architecture and design.1
In 2008 he curated the exhibition ‘Home Delivery’, which examined factory-produced houses from 1833 to today. In addition to a gallery with traditional architectural display tools, Bergdoll took advantage of a vacant lot next to the museum where five full-scale houses were shown. With these full-scale exhibition houses Bergdoll renewed an old tradition, since, in 1949, 1950 and 1954, MoMA had already sponsored and hosted mock-ups of houses that reflected seminal ideas in the history of architecture in the garden of the museum…
- Shortly after the interview Barry Bergdoll announced that he has decided to step down from his post as Philip Johnson Chief Curator in September 2013 to assume the Meyer Schapiro Chair at Columbia University’s School of Art and Sciences.