February 8, 2013
Zagreb Free-Zone, 1991. © Estate of Lebbeus Woods
It’s a sad coincidence that a new show devoted to Lebbeus Woods will open at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art so soon after the architect’s death last fall. “He was working with us on the exhibition before he passed away in October,” recalls Joseph Becker, assistant curator of architecture and design at the museum. Yet the show’s strange timing somehow befits an architect who so often took disaster and destruction as an entry point.
“Lebbeus Woods, Architect,” which opens February 16 and runs through June 2, gathers 175 pieces from the past 35 years. The mostly small works on paper track Woods’s evolution from drawing fictional cities (like his “Centricity” series from the 1980s) to imagining politically free zones in divided Berlin or war-torn Zagreb. His later abstractions, from the late ’90s and 2000s, refocus on the concept of space itself. “For Woods it seems that the real basis of architecture is the idea of the question,” says Becker, who co-curated the show with Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, acting department head and assistant curator of architecture and design. “What if we lived by a different set of rules, ones that didn’t have, for example, governing agencies that dictate how buildings could stand up or not, or even gravity and physical limitations that dictate the specific kind of architecture we must live with?” Read more.