Spotlight on Architect Mies van der Rohe with Dr. Jennie Hirsh

Spotlight on Architect Mies van der Rohe with Dr. Jennie Hirsh


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Focused on the life and work of Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), this conversation is a survey of buildings and furniture by one of the most important architect-designers of the twentieth century. Born in Germany, Mies, like many creatives in his native country, fled to the US in the 1930s soon after Adolf Hitler came to power.

We will survey his early, pioneering projects, the Villa Wolf in Guben (now Poland) and the Haus Lange and Haus Esters as well as the German Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona Exposition in Spain and the Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czechoslovakia. Further, we will look at how he assembled a star-studded group of architects for the Weissenhof exhibit in Stuttgart, Germany in 1927, that brought together a series of thirty-three important prototypes for modern housing designed by a who's who of modern architects including not only himself but also J.J.P. Oud, Le Corbusier, Bruno Taut, and more.

As the director of the Deutscher Werkbund and the last director of the Bauhaus, Mies left an indelible mark on modern European architecture before emigrating to the U.S. in 1937 where he ran the architecture department of the acclaimed Illinois Institute of Technology for which he created a plan including his renowned Crown Hall and other structures.

In Chicago, we will visit his design credits that include his Lake Shore Drive Apartments and Chicago Federal Center.  Finally, we will examine other U.S. landmarks, such as the Seagram Building in New York City and the jewel-like home he designed for Dr. Edith Farnsworth in Plano, Illinois, as well as some of his designs for museums in Houston and, at the end of his life, back in Berlin.

Led by an expert on modern and contemporary art and architecture, Dr. Jennie Hirsh, this Conversation will introduce participants to the overarching themes of Mies' contribution as well as specific projects and commissions that best represent him. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Mies' distinct and influential style as well as some of his most iconic projects around the world.

For additional information about this Context series of Artist Spotlights, please click here.

Jennie Hirsh (Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College) is a Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton and Columbia Universities, as well as pre-doctoral fellowships from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the U.S. Fulbright Commission, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Wolfsonian FIU. Hirsh has authored essays on artists including Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Yinka Shonibare, and Regina Silveira, and is co-editor, with Isabelle Wallace, of Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (Ashgate 2011).

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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