“One of the messages coming out of this show is the necessity to really change your own culture, not to just use a tool or a toy as a way of changing something.”
— Peter Lang, associate professor of architecture, co-curator
An exhibition in a Swedish museum retracing a landmark 1972 New York Museum of Modern Art exhibit of radical Italian design co-curated by Peter Lang, associate professor of architecture at Texas A&M, was lauded by a London critic as one of the world’s cultural highlights in 2011.
Praising the show, “Environments and Counter Environments; Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, MoMA 1972,” architect and critic Sam Jaco said the curators’ research elevated the exhibit, bringing to light films thought to be lost.
“In particular, [the curators uncovered] a film that acted as the show’s introduction — a looping tracking shot with the camera flying through a deserted Galleria in Milan and up, over and around set pieces of new wave Italian design,” said Jacob, in the Jan. 2012 issue of ICON magazine. Jacob is an ICON contributing editor and founding director of FAT, a London studio.
The exhibition, which was on display at The Swedish Museum of Architecture in Stockholm April 1 – June 5, 2011, looked back at the 1972 show in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, an innovative and groundbreaking exhibit presenting Italian design and architecture when it was perhaps at its most vital and influential.
By reflecting on the 1972 show, Lang and his fellow curators Luca Mollinari and Mark Wasiuta revived an important discussion on design's and architecture's explorative and critically discursive role in the shaping of society.
“One of the messages coming out of this show is the necessity to really change your own culture, not to just use a tool or a toy as a way of changing something,” Lang said in a news report on Swedish television, which features lots of imagery from the exhibition as well as clips from some of its films.
Jacob ranked the show’s cultural significance in 2011 on par with legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” a 3-D movie capturing humanity’s oldest known pictorial creations in French caves, and a series of documentary films, “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace,” in which director Adam Curtis argues that humans have been colonized by the machines they have built.