Peter Lang, assistant professor of architecture at Texas A&M University, is shining the limelight on 20th Century radical Italian designers as a curator or co-curator of two upcoming exhibits in New York City and Rome. Additionally, an article Lang penned on radical Italian designer Ettore Sotsass, garnered international acclaim when republished by Abitare, a popular European architecture magazine.
This October at Columbia University’s Buell Hall in New York City, Lang is co-curating an exhibit featuring the work of radical Italian architects who were part of the “Anti-Design” movement. The show is based on a groundbreaking 1972 international exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) entitled “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape.”
Lang said MoMA is collaborating on the exhibit, tentatively titled “New Experimental Environments,” by restoring archival documents and film. Working with Lang as co-curators are Luca Molinari with the Nuova Accademia delle Belle Arti (NABA), or New Academy of Fine Arts, in Milan, and Mark Wasiuta, of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.
A symposium exploring experiments in environmental design through the present will accompany the Columbia University exhibition at a date to be announced.
On Jan. 20, 2009, as curator for the Italian Ministry of Culture (DARC) and in cooperation with the Museum of Art for the XXI Century (MAXXI) in Rome, Lang is preparing an exhibit featuring the work of Superstudio, an Italian group founded by Adolfo Natalini and Cristiano Toraldo di Francia in 1966 to produce experimental architecture.
“This will be the first major exhibition of Superstudio’s work in Italy in 30 years,” Lang said, noting that the radical architecture group’s work is part of the permanent collections at MoMA and the Pompidou Center in Paris.
The exhibition at MAXXI in Rome, will be held in an exhibit space known as the “Ex-Papal Prisons of San Michelle Rome.”
In an aside of interest to architects, Lang noted that MAXXI is currently constructing a new building designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid.
In March 2008, an essay by Lang on the radical Italian architect Ettore Sotsass was published in The Reader, a supplement to Abitare, a popular architecture periodical that has been a dominant presence in Europe since founded in 1962. The Reader features essays and reviews from around the world deemed significant by Abitare editors.
The March issue of The Reader marked the December 2007 passing of Sotsass, a flamboyant, influential, highly original and occasionally despised Italian designer and architect who was a leading member of the group which established postwar Italy's reputation for design.
Lang’s essay on Sotsass, “Hot Design,” originally appeared under the title “Running Hot and Cold,” in the October 17, 2007 issue of “The Architect’s Newspaper,” published in New York City.