MOMA Show to Focus On Influential, ‘Underrated’ Architect Lina Bo Bardi

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Lina Bo Bardi. São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), Sao Paulo, Brazil. Drawing. Graphite, and ink on paper. Unframed: 18 9/16 x 27 1Ž2” (47.2 x 69.8cm). Completed 1968. —Instituto Lina Bo e Pietro Maria Bardi

By Reed Johnson
March 27, 2015, The Wall Street Journal

Lina Bo Bardi has been lauded as a “posthumous starchitect,” and “the most underrated architect of the twentieth century.”

Those epithets soon may be passé. When the Museum of Modern Art opens its exhibition “Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955–1980” on March 29, it will focus an intensifying spotlight on the work of the Italian-born architect and designer, who moved with her husband to Brazil in the 1940s and helped create the South American nation’s modern identity.

MOMA’s showcase, comprising original architectural drawings, models, photographs and films from the period, seems likely to further raise the profile of an architect who was an outlier in her own times, but has attracted growing international attention since her death in 1992.

“A Lina Bo Bardi should be as famous as a Walter Gropius,” said Barry Bergdoll, a Columbia University professor, MOMA curator and co-organizer of MOMA’s exhibition.

Mr. Bergdoll said the “main aim” of MOMA’s exhibition is to highlight the variety and quality of under-known South American architects such as Ms. Bo Bardi, her fellow Brazilian Lúcio Costa and the Argentine Clorindo Testa. The new exhibition – the first large-scale New York museum show of its kind since 1955, when MOMA staged “Latin American Architecture since 1945” – will focus on a period of intense creativity across the region that occurred despite violent political and economic upheaval. Ms. Bo Bardi, a leftist, frequently scrapped with bureaucratic supporters of Brazil’s right-wing military regime that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985, a stance that likely limited her output. Read more…

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