Saturday, November 28, 2009

Aggregate: Art and Architecture – A Brutalist Remix is an exhibition inspired by the architectural movement of Brutalism. Associated with the sculptural, the monumental, and concrete, Brutalism flourished after World War II with works by architects such as Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, I.M. Pei, Paul Rudolph, and Alison and Peter Smithson. Examples can be found globally, and many prime examples dot the shoreline region of Connecticut – especially New Haven. After the movement peaked in the 1960s, Brutalism continued to affect the aesthetics of corporate buildings jutting from suburban landscapes like Westport -- diluted remnants of Brutalism’s avant-garde ideas.

But this exhibition is not about Brutalism as a historic architectural movement – which would be its own challenge since even those linked to it often rejected the label. It is an art exhibition that began with curious explorations of this region and its connections to Brutalist architecture (three of the movement’s major players taught at nearby Yale University: John Johansen, Louis Kahn, and Paul Rudolph) and ended with a gathering of artworks and documents that reflect, critique, and expand on Brutalist architects’ utopian/humanitarian impulses; their attention to the innate qualities of materials; and the shifting receptions to their designs over time.