Patio & Pavilion  The Place of Sculpture in Modern Architecture

By Penelope Curtis
Ridinghouse 2007 in association with The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
£19.95  |  $39.95

24 × 18 cm  |  9 1/2 × 7 1/8 in
144 pp, 12 colour and 60 b&w ill
Distributed in the US by The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
ISBN: 978 1 905464 05 0

Although art that blurs the boundaries of sculpture and architecture is now commonplace, this well-illustrated book is the first attempt to understand how these distinct fields became fused in an uncertain alliance.

This volume examines the relationship between modern sculpture and architecture in the mid-twentieth century, an interplay that has laid the ground for the semisculptural or semiarchitectural works by architects such as Frank Gehry and artists such as Dan Graham.


The first half of the book looks at how the addition of sculpture enhanced several architectural projects, including Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion (1929) and Eliel Saarinen's Cranbrook Campus (1934). The second half of the book uses several additional case studies, including Philip Johnson's sculpture court for New York's Museum of Modern Art (1953), to explore what architectural spaces can add to the sculpture they are designed to contain.


The author argues that it was in the middle of the twentieth century, before sculptural and architectural forms began to converge, that the complementary nature of the two art forms began clearly to emerge: figurative sculpture highlighted the modernist architectural experience, and the abstract qualities of that architecture imparted to sculpture a heightened role.

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