A TWO-DAY CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK CITY
November 11 and 12, 2011
The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art announces a two-day
conference this fall dedicated to a rigorous examination of
Postmodernism both as expressed in theory and as put into practice in
the fourth quarter of the 20th century in America and abroad.
Attention will be paid as well to those who followed whether to
reject, reinterpret, or reapply. An historic overview will thus
conjoin with contemporary appraisal. Attention will be paid to links
with contemporary classicism.
The conference’s goal is to bring together top architects, scholars,
and critics to discuss why and how Postmodernism occurred, why and how
it was soon largely eclipsed, and why and how it has nonetheless
continued to influence the field and broader culture – including its
lasting impact on the theory and application of urban planning and
design. The program is conceived for those patrons and practitioners
at the forefront of experience and appreciation as well as those least
affected or engaged in what was once the predominant aspect in design
discovery and pedagogy. The format will vary among lectures and
moderated panel discussions with conferee questions encouraged
The distinguished participating architect, scholar, and dean, Michael
Graves said, “For me, Postmodernism was an attempt to return to a more
humanistic architecture after decades of what could be called
“commercial modernism.” Postmodernism itself lost much of its appeal
when stylistic association with certain colors and motifs, especially
in commercial settings, eclipsed its philosophical basis. However,
among its positive lessons was the renewal of interest in the public
realm: how people relate to buildings and urban space, and how
buildings relate to their contexts, both of which have an enduring
influence on architecture and urban design.”
Scholar, journalist, and Deputy Editor of Architectural Record,
Suzanne Stephens, who will lead the media panel said, "As
Postmodernism began to flourish in the 1970s and early 1980s,
publications and their respective editors and writers advanced
different viewpoints about its promises and its perils. Accordingly,
the conference panelists will discuss their reasons for such differing
approaches, and what lessons were to be learned from them."
Co-sponsored by the Schools of Architecture of the University of Notre
Dame and the University of Miami, the conference will take place in
the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. Noted experts besides Mr.
Graves and Dr. Stephens, who have agreed to serve as lecturers and
panelists include Robert Adam, Barry Bergdoll, Paul Goldberger,
Charles Jencks (who coined the label), Michael Sorkin, Robert A. M.
Stern, Stanley Tigerman, and Mark Wigley among many others. Tom Wolfe
will deliver a keynote address marking the thirtieth anniversary of
his seminal book, From Bauhaus to Our House. The complete two-day
schedule follows, along with the details of registration. Places will
be available on a first-come, first served basis.
The inventor and prime content driver of the conference, partner at
Robert A. M. Stern Architects, Gary Brewer, who serves on the ICAA
board, said, "The ICAA and others whether or not of like mind are
indebted to Postmodernism for opening the vaults of architectural
history and prompting the possibility to question the reigning yet
evermore corporate orthodoxy of high modernism.”
Architect Brewer was assisted throughout by his RAMSA colleague, Tim
Deal; New York interior decorator, Courtney Coleman; and architectural
designer, Seth Weine, all of whom serve as Fellows of the Institute.
Senior Vice President, Henrika Taylor, managed its advent and
Membership and Public Programs Associate, David Ludwig, serves as its
Topics of the lectures and panel discussions will include:
"Postmodernism and Urbanism;" "Politics, Economics and Postmodernism;"
"Irony, or, the Self-Critical Opacity of Postmodernist Architecture;"
"The Architect’s Eye: Postmodernism and Architectural Education;" and
"Postmodernism’s Reaction to Modernism."
The Proshansky Auditorium at The CUNY Graduate Center is located in
mid-town Manhattan in the refurbished Trowbridge and Livingston
Beaux-Arts B. Altman’s landmark. It seats up to 400 and has common
space to house reception activities. An adjacent simulcast will be
added as demand dictates along with Web streaming of key segments at
www.classicist.org, where all ICAA activities and offerings nationwide
are featured daily.
ICAA President, Paul Gunther, said, “Our aim is not only to look back
historically, but also to place Postmodernism in a dynamic current
context. What are the lasting lessons and impact even among those not
yet enlightened as viewed through a contemporary eye? To that end,
current students and others curious and uninitiated are welcome to
take due advantage on this anniversary occasion.
“I thank the donors to date who are making this overdue academic
gathering conference possible, the Arthur Ross Foundation, Elise Jaffe
+ Jeffrey Brown, Balmer Architectural Mouldings, and public funds from
the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
The Architect’s Newspaper is the official media sponsor of the
conference and their imprimatur helps signal a diverse professional
community passionate in their points of view. We hope that appeals
pending will broaden this generous roster of like-minded patrons of
The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) is a nonprofit
educational organization dedicated to advancing the practice and
appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture, urbanism, and
the allied arts. It is a school, publisher, public programmer and
advocate. Founded as two separate organizations in 1991 and 1968
respectively, they came together in 2002 and now serve an
international membership with fifteen regional chapters operating
throughout the country. The Institute's Grand Central Academy of Art
fulfills the allied arts aspect of its guiding mission with a rigorous
program in classical drawing, painting, and sculpture, as well as the
newly launched year-long certificate program called the Beaux-Arts
Atelier. To learn more visit www.classicist.org.
Institute of Classical Architecture & Art
20 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
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