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July 18, 2017

July 18, 2017: New York, NYThe Center for Architecture is proud to announce This Future Has a Past, a multimedia installation brought to New York City in cooperation with Anyspace, the new pop-up architectural exhibition program of the Anyone Corporation. Originally produced by Katherine Lambert, AIA, IIDA, founding principal, Metropolitan Architecture Practice, and professor of architecture and the California College of the Arts, and Christiane Robbins, principal and director of special projects at Metropolitan Architecture Practice, the installation probes the mysterious fate of the Gregory Ain-designed 1950 Exhibition House for the Museum of Modern Art Garden. The show will be on view and open to the public from July 25 to September 12.

The exhibition offers an in-depth look at one work by Ain, MoMA’s 1950 commission for “House in the Garden,” a series curated by MoMA director of architecture Philip Johnson. Ain, a midcentury Los Angeles modernist known for his postwar community-based housing, was asked to design a house tailored for middle-class American families to be shown in the MoMA series, following criticism of Johnson’s selection of “elitist” Marcel Breuer to design the first house in 1949.

While the Breuer house was purchased by Nelson Rockefeller and moved to his estate in upstate New York, there is no record of what happened to Ain’s Exhibition House. Whether its disappearance was due to Ain’s politics is unknown: J. Edgar Hoover regarded Ain as “the most dangerous architect in America” due to his suspected ties to the Communist Party.

Included in the exhibition are records of FBI surveillance of Ain’s “un-American activities” and liminal images of a contemporary model of the commissioned Exhibition House. Recently, Barry Bergdoll, a curator of architecture at MoMA, discovered the original 1950 model of the house and acquired it for the MoMA collection. The model will be exhibited in conjunction with Lambert and Robbins’s installation, making it available to view for the first time in more than 50 years.

This Future Has a Past offers a timely look not only at the role of the FBI in this country but also at one aspect of the history of New York’s leading collector of architectural projects. It is a bicoastal history, and mystery, little known until now,” said Cynthia Davidson of Anyone Corporation.

This Future Has a Past was originally created by Katherine Lambert and Christiane Robbins for “Time-Space-Existence,” a group exhibition at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale.


Opening Reception
Tuesday, July 25, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Who Was Gregory Ain?
Thursday, September 7, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
A conversation about Ain and the MoMA mystery.
Speakers include: Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University; curator, Department of Architecture and Design, the Museum of Modern Art; Cynthia Davidson, executive director, Anyone Corporation; editor, Log; Katherine Lambert, AIA, IIDA, founding principal, Metropolitan Architecture Practice; professor of architecture, California College of the Arts; Christiane Robbins, principal and director of special projects, Metropolitan Architecture Practice; former professor of media arts and director of the Matrix Program for Inter-Arts, University of Southern California

This Future Has a Past is presented in cooperation with Anyspace.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

About Anyone Corporation
Anyone Corporation is a New York–based nonprofit architecture think tank established in December 1990. Its purpose is to advance the knowledge and understanding of architecture and its relationships to the general culture through international conferences, public seminars, exhibitions, and publications that erode boundaries between disciplines and cultures. Anyone Corporation is also the publisher of ANY (Architecture New York) magazine (1993–2000), ANY books (1991–2000), and Log (2003–present) and produces the Writing Architecture series of books (1995–present) with MIT Press. In 2016, the Anyone Corporation co-curated the US Pavilion for the Venice International Architecture Biennale.

About the Center for Architecture
The Center for Architecture is the premier cultural venue for architecture and the built environment in New York City, informed by the complexity of the City’s urban fabric and in dialogue with the global community. The Center shares a home with the AIA New York Chapter and has the unique advantage of drawing upon the ideas and experiences of practicing architects to produce thought-provoking exhibitions, informative public programs, and quality design education experiences for K-12 students. It also leads New York City’s annual month-long architecture and design festival, Archtober. The Center for Architecture’s aim is to further public knowledge about New York City architecture and architects, foster exchange and collaboration among members of the design, development, building, scholarly, and policy sectors, and inspire new ideas about the role of design in communities by presenting contemporary and practical issues in architecture and urbanism to a general audience.


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