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"Mies in Berlin: Mies van der Rohe's German Work and Other Projects in Europe"
2001-06-21 until 2001-09-22
Museum of Modern Art
New York, NY, USA

Mies in Berlin is the first in-depth look at the early career of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (German, 1886-1969). The exhibition and an accompanying publication will examine Mies's architectural work from the time he arrived in Berlin in 1905 and established his architectural practice there in 1913, until his emigration to the United States in 1938.

Mies is best known today as the leading and most influential exponent of the refined glass-and-steel architecture of mid-20th-century architecture in America and abroad. The focus of this exhibition is on the aspects of Mies's early work that are most related to Europe and to Berlin as a specific architectural and cultural landscape, traditionally have been neglected in considering Mies as an International Style architect. In Berlin, Mies was influenced by Peter Behrens, Germany's most progressive architect of the time, and Behrens's emulation of the pure, bold, and simple Neoclassic forms of the early 19th-century German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel.

Mies in Berlin examines the architect's more traditional work alongside his avant-garde projects and stresses the site-specific qualities of his works to demonstrate that his German work is not merely a prelude to a more mature phase of his career in America. By asserting a more continuous and complex evolution of the architect's design methods - his theories of nature, materials, and modern space and dwelling - the exhibition invites a reconsideration of a key figure of the modern movement.

Highlights of the exhibition:

275 original drawings from major collections around the world, with the largest number coming from the Mies van der Rohe Archive at The Museum of Modern Art.

Many drawings that have rarely been exhibited, including the recently rediscovered large-scale competition proposal for a monument to Otto von Bismarck. This full-color, 5-foot-by-8-foot courtyard perspective from 1910 has never been seen in a major exhibition.

14 new scale models, in addition to the architect's own model of the Tugendhat House, emphasizing context and landscape in Mies's early designs. Video and digital models further enhance the viewer's understanding of the relationship between his architecture, interiors, and the landscape.

Presentation renderings by Mies's acknowledged masters - Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Peter Behrens, and Henrik Berlage - are shown alongside his work for the first time to trace the principal influences on his architectural development and on his large-scale, full-color rendering techniques.

Original paintings, sculpture, drawings, and film that were featured in G, the journal that Mies directed and that show his involvement in the avant-garde artistic movements in Berlin in the 1920s.

New color and black-and-white photography by Kay Fingerle, documenting all of Mies's extant works, including those located in the former East Germany, some of which have recently been restored or made easily accessible for the first time.

New large-scale digitally manipulated photos by Thomas Ruff that serve as a visual essay on Mies's early work and challenge long-held assumptions about the architect.

Concurrently, Mies in America - a comprehensive survey of the architect's work from the time he reestablished his practice in Chicago in 1938 until his death in 1969, organized by the Canadian Centre for Architecture - will be shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, from June 21 to September 22, 2001.

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