The New and Improved MoMA Under Bergdoll’s Iron Fist


The general idea going into this Wall Street Journal article is that you’re going to read another review of the MoMA‘s latest exhibits, the much discussed “The Lost Vanguard,” which highlights Soviet architecture, and “75 Years of Architecture at the MoMA,” which highlights architecture everywhere else. Yet the real pull of the piece by Ada Louise Huxtable is what the museum is doing differently and how its conducting itself under the newly appointed Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, Barry Bergdoll (whose first big show is the afformentioned “75 Years”). The verdict? He’s grounding things, broadening the MoMA’s outlook and generally attempting to focus on what the museum has to offer instead of trying to always mix things up. Or at least that’s what we got from reading the article. Here’s a bit:

Mr. Bergdoll’s revisionism seems to be on more solid ground than the controversial rehangings. In a recent conversation, he outlined a program that starts with what he calls “Other Modernisms,” citing Expressionism and similar departures from standard modernist practice that simply didn’t fit a preferred set of restrictive architectural guidelines and were written out by MoMA because it sincerely believed that historical or decorative trends had been permanently transcended, never to return. Movements considered marginal and talents too far out of the loop were excluded by the single-minded focus on a rigidly reductive International Style.