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How MoMA's Foreclosed Exhibition Sets Design Back Ten Years

In a rousing rebuke to the Museum of Modern Art's new show "Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream," Bryan Bell takes aim at the out-of-date thinking represented in top-down architecture by star architects and curators.
February 17, 2012, 6am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Some people enjoyed MoMA's new show, which presents design solutions to address the myriad problems plaguing the country's suburbs, but Bryan Bell was not one of them.

In a commentary for Metropolis, Bell draws unflattering parallels between the top-down approach of "Foreclosed" and another MoMA show, "Small Scale, Big Change," "in which the architects maintained a sustained relationship with the communities they served. The projects were developed and carried out with the involvement of the communities, not invented in a museum for distant "beneficiaries"."

For Bell, "Foreclosed" ignores the advances made by other publications and exhibitions in the last decade towards building an argument that, "design can play a direct role in addressing issues critical to the general public."

In summary of his criticisms, Bell offers this yardstick, borrowed from the disability rights movement, "Here is a good rule of thumb for successful projects in the field or for any future curators or designers who want to claim to help the general public through design: 'Nothing about us without us is for us.'"

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Published on Thursday, February 16, 2012 in Metropolis POV Blog
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