Decon Artists: Wigley, Tschumi, Eisenman Reflect on MoMA’s Landmark “Deconstructivist Architecture” Exhibit

East, Eavesdroplet
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Parc de la Villettes. (Lauren Manning / Flickr)

Parc de la Villettes. (Lauren Manning / Flickr)

On January 22, Mark Wigley, Bernard Tschumi, and Peter Eisenman took the stage in MoMA’s theater to reflect upon Deconstructivist Architecture, the landmark 1988 exhibit curated by Wigley and Philip Johnson. The press release at the time described the featured architects—including Coop Himmelblau, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, and Daniel Libeskind, along with Tschumi and Eisenman­—as “obsessed with diagonals, arcs, and warped plans.”

In a where-are-they-now moment, Wigley said, “It occurred to me that only Daniel Libeskind thought the show was about the future, and he still seems to be designing for the show, and that seems to be not a good idea.” And the sniping didn’t stop there. Eisenman, despite refusing to hold the microphone to his mouth, could be overheard saying what kind of exhibit he would—or rather, wouldn’t—do, if given the chance: “Well, it wouldn’t be like the biennale of last fall, which was sort of a discount supermarket of everything that was going.” “Including you,” zinged Wigley.

2 Responses to “Decon Artists: Wigley, Tschumi, Eisenman Reflect on MoMA’s Landmark “Deconstructivist Architecture” Exhibit”

  1. Adrian says:

    If nothing else, the look-back confirmed how wrong MoMA got it. The show merely established a few petty bickering academics as celebrities despite the fact that they really had nothing to offer except ego and a tendency towards obscurantist prose bordering on architectural flatulence. Eisenman went on to try and build a career based on pretention and pseudo-intellectual BS. Gehry veered off into half-baked “sculpture” masquerading as fine design. Libeskind, emboldened by the exposure, made a career out of proclaiming his architectural ignorance and personal stupidity at every opportunity. Thanks MoMA. But next time, stick to exhibitions like the Architecture of the Ecole de Beaux Arts where beauty and real design are on display and we can all be inspired and learn something about real architecture.

  2. Cass says:

    The petty sniping of Eisenman, Wigley et al confirmed just how immature and childish these clowns are. No surprise their architecture was so empty and intellectually barren despite their futile attempts to couch it in the most pretentious jargon immaginable. As for Libeskind? It was obvious to everyone back in 1988 (except pseudo-intellectuals), that he was a poseur, the turd floating in the punchbowl of real architectural discourse. If the last two decades showed anything, it is that Libeskind is even worse than our worst fears.

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