Global Contemporary Art, 1980 CE to Present Architecture

Topic 4: Architecture

  • Contemporary architecture, like contemporary art, has embraced new materials and techniques. Many of the most celebrated architectural works of recent years represent a decisive break with modernism, moving sharply away from the straight lines and right angles, the clearly articulated structure and rationalist functionalism of the International Style. Contemporary architects seemingly blur the lines between sculpture and architecture, conceiving of buildings first as objects placed within a particular setting, and then as functional structures.

  • This new approach the design of buildings has been greatly facilitated by the use of computers to create drafts and models of future structures. New materials, such as the titanium used for the exterior of Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, also offer new structural possibilities. However, the construction of the sculptural buildings architects are now able to design often proves difficult and costly, potentially limiting possible clients to corporate patrons and well-funded arts organizations.

  • The construction of museums in particular often allows architects to experiment, as these institutions are willing to try something new and eager to create buildings that visitors may find as much of an attraction as the collection. Examples include Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and Zaha Hadid's MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome.

Related Links:
Architecture and Installation Art Quiz
Global Contemporary Art, 1980 CE to Present General Concepts
AP Art History Quizzes
AP Art History Notes