The Simpson Lecture 2015/2016 – Professor Barry Bergdoll


  • Friday, October 30, 2015 - 18:00

We are delighted to announce Professor Barry Bergdoll as the 2015/2016 George Simpson Visiting Professor. Barry joins us from Columbia University, New York, where he is Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History & Archaeology.

In a free public lecture at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), Professor Bergdoll will be discussing the Latin America in Construction, Architecture 1955–1980 exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), of which he was one of the curators.

His lecture, Good Neighbours?, will also offer an interpretation of MoMA’s engagement with contemporary architecture in Latin America from the 1940s onwards.

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Good Neighbours? Full lecture abstract

From the outset of the Second World War, to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) played a role in promoting developments in modern architecture in Latin America that was, inevitably, politically inflected.

Such influential shows as Brazil Builds of 1942 also had a huge impact on the writing of the history of modern architecture on both sides of the Atlantic.

Recently, the Museum returned to the region after a hiatus of sixty years. This lecture will offer an interpretation of MoMA’s important mid-century engagement with then contemporary architecture in Latin America as a prelude to discussing the recent major exhibition Latin America in Construction, Architecture 1955–1980, of which Professor Bergdoll was one of the curators.

This exhibition proposed not only to recalibrate our understanding of architectural developments in the post-World War II era, but also to look at contemporary resonances of a rich body of work too little known outside Latin America.

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About George Simpson Visiting Professors

The George Simpson Visiting Professor is a position open to distinguished international architectural practitioners and thinkers.

Previous office holders include Alexander Brodsky, Michael B. Cadwell, William Curtis, Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Andrea Kahn, Diane Lewis, Daniel Libeskind, Joseph Rykwert, Peter Wilson, and Anthony Vidler.

The post facilitates engagement with teaching and research at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) at ECA.

While in Edinburgh, Barry Bergdoll will also critique students' work and give an Architectural History and Theory research seminar on Frank Lloyd Wright (3rd November 2015).