I am opening a new course this fall, The Modern Interior: Myth and Reality at the New York School of Interior Design. It examines the history of modern domestic interior through the lens of those who patronized and those who created the iconic monuments of 20th-century domestic interior. The relationship between the architect, the era and its ideology, and the patron stands at the core of this program. All architects know that if they don’t have a client, they do not have a building. The strong confidence of patrons in their architects and their desire to live the avant-garde and to patronize important design has been key to the evolution of modern architecture. While considering major movements, this course aims to move beyond a formal analysis, into to discussion of such key notions as modernity, gender, class, and identities. Throughout its five sessions, the course illustrates legendary and influential interiors, those which have left their marks on the history of modern design, created by talented artists, designers, architects, and tastemakers, commissioned by patrons of progressive taste and ambitious cultural intentions. Every home discussed in this course was the product of visionary patrons, those whose passion for modern architecture, whose urge to create themselves a unique identity through the design of their homes, and whose love for the avant-garde, have brought them to commission iconic and important homes. It begins with the Peacock Room, perhaps the most controversial of all interiors, created by James McNeill Whistler in Victorian London, and continues to identify those homes which have become the benchmarks of the modern interior. Participants will be requested to read articles and to make short presentations. Registration is open.
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