Pippo Ciorra in conversation with Sylvia Lavin (May 31, 2013)

Pippo Ciorra defines three possible roles for architecture exhibitions: historicizing existing architecture, building inside the museum, and creating conditions for architects to build outside of the museum. He notes that aspects of MAXXI in Rome which might appear to be obstacles, have been for him advantages–especially the abrupt way work was suspended, leaving spaces which could be used for public events. He discusses the first two Young Architects Program (YAP) outdoor installations at MAXXI, and exhibits where he attempts to combine representations of architecture with built installations in a way that intelligently redirects contemporary architectural discourse. Ciorra and Sylvia Lavin discuss the museum installation as a kind of architecture, and as a bridge to building outside the museum. While Ciorra disapproves of trend towards curatorship becoming an academic discipline; Lavin suggests that curatorship has become the central cultural communication role. They engage Elena Manferdini, and discuss her experiences with MOCA’s New Sculpturalism show. Ciorra stresses that as a YAP juror he is always looking for work with ideas, that is extremely experimental, and that can satisfy the requirements for shade, seating, and water. Lavin reminds the students in the audience that they are already curators–if only of their own work. Ciorra stresses the museum as a stage for developing new kinds of work, plus engaging other disciplines, and a wider public. For him, exhibits are a means, not an end. Lavin points out to students that for many of them, their first significant architectural project will be some kind of museum installation: “the museum is the new garage.”

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