Past Programs

  • Author Index
  • Museum Director Carol Willis's first love and special focus of her academic research has been American architecture of the 1920s. To expand the themes of the 2007-2008 exhibition and give definition to the concept of New York Modern, she presented a series of five illustrated lectures that examine in detail the development of a new aesthetic in skyscraper design and ideas of urban planning. Countering narratives that explain American modernism as style – Art Deco or International – that evolved from influences by European artists and designers, Willis identifies an American modernism that develops directly from the architects' preoccupations, from the early 1920s, with the conditions and challenges of rationalizing the modern city.

    The lectures highlighted careers and contributions of three key figures in the contemporary debates over the future of New York and the shape of the modern metropolis. The 60-90 minute lectures are available here as streaming video.

    Additionally, the Museum organized a panel discussion on May 8, 2008 of New York scholars and story-tellers to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the opening of Rockefeller Center and its 70-story signature tower, the RCA Building/30 Rockefeller Plaza.