OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW…
LAST CHANCE TO SEE BERNARR MACFADDEN AND THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL CULTURE MOVEMENT LIBRARY DISPLAY BEFORE IT IS REPLACED WITH UNREAL(IZED) ARCHITECTURE EXHIBIT
Earlier this week, I completed a draft for the descriptive and interpretative label text for a new library display to be installed in the third floor foyer next week. That means that this weekend will be the last opportunity that museum patrons will have to take a look at body-builder, publishing magnate, and champion of the Physical Culture movement in America, Bernarr Macfadden. Virtually all of the materials on display were donated to the museum library by Robert J. Young, an ardent disciple of Macfadden and the crusade for better living through a regimen of exercise, abstention from tobacco and alcohol, and a healthy diet. Having assembled a large personal library on the subject, Mr. Young donated the materials to the museum to ensure that they would not be lost to future generations of students and scholars.
As the American Institute of Architects will be holding their convention in Miami this June, we thought that our new display ought to show off some of the architectural gems in the library collection. During a brainstorming session, our rare books cataloguer came up with a brilliant suggestion for a unifying theme for the exhibit. Dr. Harsanyi proposed that we focus on some of the illustrious architects and theorists represented in our collection whose designs for edifices and city plans had not been realized at the time. Visitors coming to the museum this summer will be treated to some rare designs by Leopold Bauer, Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, and Charles Rennie Macintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald for an early twentieth-century competition to build a House for an Art-lover. Portfolio plates of a Frank Lloyd Wright multiplex housing development and plans for a utopian industrial city by Tony Garnier will also be on display.
As anyone who knows anything about the Wolfsonian might expect, our exhibit on architecture will also touch on the propagandistic element inherent in such project proposals for designs for monuments, buildings, and cityscapes to be built for the totalitarian regimes in the Soviet Union, Fascist Italy, and Nazi Germany. Come in next week and experience the imaginary architectural landscapes envisioned by architects such as Vladimir Tatlin, Boris Mihailovich Iofan Mario Palanti, and Hermann Geisler. As a teaser, here are some other works by these architects that give you a sense of what to expect.