Heavy Things Seem to Float in Air
by Katherine Gustafson
Somewhere between the nostalgic musings of I. M. Pei and the flickering of an independent-minded slideshow, noted Marcel Breuer expert Barry Bergdoll expressed perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Breuer's architecture: "by the end of his career, even heavy things seem to float in air." Bergdoll illustrated his point with a series of striking images in which massive concrete structures balance as if on tiptoe.
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A sizable audience gathered at the National Building Museum in January 2008 to hear about Breuer's work and life at a presentation entitled "Marcel Breuer: Design and Architecture," held in conjunction with an exhibit of the same name.
Bergdoll, the chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art and an art history professor at Columbia University, presented a lively analysis of Breuer's unique artistry. This overview, combined with Bergdoll's candid interview of I. M. Pei, a close friend and colleague of Breuer, painted a rich portrait of one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.
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