Out of Site/In Plain View: A History of Exhibiting Architecture Since 1750
This book project grows out of the Mellon Lectures which I presented at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in 2013, and which will be published by Princeton University Press. Probably since paper was invented, architects have pinned up drawings for review by patrons, clients, and colleagues. And since at least the 17th century the pin-up has been a feature of architectural training (you can witness it regularly in Avery Hall several times a semester). But the creation of public exhibitions of architecture, with the aims of engaging non-professionals and creating an audience for architecture distinct from the experience of buildings in situ dates only from the second half of the 18th century. Despite the obvious paradox of exhibiting representations of buildings rather than buildings themselves, practices of displaying architecture has grown exponentially in both frequency and variety of approach ever since.
In parallel to this project I am completing the publication of the Roman letters of the architect Léon Vaudoyer and beginning work on an exhibition on the drawings of the great theorist and architect of the French Gothic Revival architect Viollet-le-Duc. To that end I will be spending time in the vast collection of his drawings held at the archives of the Commission des Monuments Historiques.
Barry Bergdoll is Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History, Columbia University.