The Duck and the Document: True Stories of Postmodern Procedures
SCI-Arc Gallery
April 14, 2017 – May 28, 2017 

Sylvia Lavin, CuratorSarah Hearne, Associate CuratorBesler & Sons, Exhibition DesignNick Rodrigues, Fabrication

Research, Curatorial and Design assistance provided by the UCLA Curatorial Project Team.UCLA Curatorial Assistants: Maura Lucking, Simon Pennec, Kyle StoverUCLA Curatorial Team: Alexander Abugov, Aubrey Bauer, Rachel Connor, Dongxiao Cheng, Glory Curtis, Erin Day, Jesse Hammer, Yessenia Juarez, Devin Koba, Summer Liu, Jena Meeks, Oscar Peña, Sai Rojanapirom, Jeisler Salunga, Yeqi Wang

The Duck and the Document: True Stories of Postmodern Procedures features a series of fragments, from handrails to façade panels, salvaged from canonic buildings of the late 20th century. Typically associated with drawing and the circulation of media images, postmodern architecture is generally understood to have been largely a matter of style and surface ornament, freed from the exigencies of political and technical systems by the force of architectural autonomy.  The Duck and the Document challenges this view by embedding the expected imagery of postmodernity within materials that demonstrate the dense tangle of regulations, production specifications and technologies that constrained architectural design rather than liberated it. While these True Stories of Postmodern Procedures describe a less heroic and autonomous architect, they also produce a more persuasive account of architectural ingenuity as it sought to survive the bureaucratization not merely of the architectural profession but of the very idea of architecture.

Featuring artifacts from the buildings and archives of Peter Eisenman, Charles Moore, Mike Reynolds, and SITE.

“The Duck and the Document” is reviewed by Professor Craig Hodgetts in the Architect’s Newspaper. Read the review here.

Sylvia Lavin is an internationally known critic, historian and curator whose work explores the limits of architecture across a wide spectrum of historical periods. She is Professor, Director of PhD Programs and former Chair of the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA and has taught at Princeton, Harvard, Columbia among other schools. She is a frequent contributor to journals such as Artforum, Perspecta and Log and among her books are titles such as Form Follows Libido: Architecture and Richard Neutra in a Psychoanalytic Culture, Kissing Architecture and Flash in the Pan.  Recent exhibitions include Everything Loose Will Land: Art and Architecture in Los Angeles in the 1970s, The New Creativity and The Artless Drawing. She has been recognized by many grants and awards, most recently from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Getty Research Institute and the Graham Foundation.

Special thanks to:Hernán Díaz AlonsoStephanie Atlan

This exhibition originated as “Salvage” at the Princeton University School of Architecture in Spring 2016. A new and expanded iteration of the show will be on view at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Spring 2018.

Princeton Curatorial Team: Mark Acciari, Emma Benintende, Kate Yeh Chiu, Jessica Colangelo, Jacob Comerci, Michaela Friedberg, Joanna Grant, Mercedes Peralta François Sabourin, Laura Salazar

Special thanks to:

Monica Ponce de Leon

Frances Yuan

Tina DiCarlo

Kira McDonald

SCI-Arc exhibitions and public programs are made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles. The SCI-Arc Gallery is open daily from 10am–6pm.