ARCHITECTURE MONOGRAPHS

PUBLISHER
Marquand Books

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 10 x 11 in. / 134 pgs / 80 color / 12 bw.

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Pub Date
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D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2011 p. 111   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9780615395791 TRADE
List Price: $40.00 CDN $54.00 GBP £35.00

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In stock

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MARQUAND BOOKS

Max Gordon: Architect for Art

Text by Nicholas Serota, David Gordon, Jonathan Marvel, Kenneth Frampton.

Max Gordon: Architect for ArtWhether creating enormous exhibition spaces or designing living quarters for collectors and homes and studio facilities for artists, the acclaimed architect Max Gordon (1931-1990) shaped the physical settings of art in the world's major metropolises during his influential career. Following several decades of work with leading architectural firms in New York and London (during which he designed the headquarters of New Scotland Yard), in the early 1980s Gordon designed the first Saatchi Gallery in London, and went on to become celebrated and sought after as the art world's architect of choice, designing spaces for artists Elizabeth Murray, Jennifer Bartlett, Richard Serra and Joel Shapiro, and gallerists Paula Cooper, Brooke Alexander, Maeght-Lelong and Lorence-Monk in New York and Anthony d'Offay and Annely Juda in London. This first monograph offers a detailed overview of Gordon's projects for the art world, from the 100,000-square-foot exhibition space he designed for the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid to the SoHo home he remodeled for Richard Serra, demonstrating throughout his elegant use of light, space and minimal decoration, and displaying his gift for always highlighting the art.

Featured image, the interior of Bryan and Lucy Ferry's New York City apartment, is reproduced from the architectural monongraph, Max Gordon: Architect for Art. In his catalog essay on the late, great architect of spaces for artists and art, curator and Tate director Nicholas Serota writes, "Gordon was something of a rarity, an architect with a passion for art who was in turn loved and admired by artists. Many architects associate with artists, and some succeed in designing spaces in which the art rather than the architecture is paramount. However, very few architects are regarded as friends and equals by artists, let alone accomplish this feat on both sides of the Atlantic. Garrulous but shy, given to one-liners but never glib, Max Gordon was a central figure in the London and New York art worlds for more than twenty years, from the late sixties until his early death at the age of fifty-nine in 1990."

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

ARTnews

Barbara MacAdam

This delightful book falls outside most familiar categories. More than anything, it’s a series of fond tributes to a quirky, independent, personally flamboyant, professionally unostentatious architect, who was both stubborn and collaborative. His minimalist plans speak to the needs of the art they were designed to accommodate. They don’t steal the show. Most of all, the book offers the gestalt of Max Gordon, the mind behind some of the late 20th century’s most important exhibition spaces, from Saatchi’s first gallery in London to Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.

The Art Newspaper

Stephen Bayley

A minimalist before the term was established, Gordon was a functionalist too. His gallery spaces were designed to work for the art, not to enhance his own reputation as an architect. “Beinahe nichts” was one of Mies’s directives. This means “almost nothing”. Quietly and unostentatiously, Max Gordon created a great deal more.

Max Gordon: Architect for Art

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FROM THE BOOK
"Born in South Africa and educated at elite institutions around the world, Max Gordon was as much a culture diplomat and connoisseur as he was an architect. He was, in a very special sense of the term, a facilitator, a creator of situations, of contacts, scenes, and above all, an aficionado of art. It was this last overriding passion that determined the character of almost everything he did and it is this that explains the unique position he modestly occupied in the trajectory of contemporary architecture.
Mies van der Rohe's aphorism, beinahe nichts, ("almost nothing"), could well have been assumed by Max as a motto for practice, had he been inclined to do so. Hence, his affinity for Mies, or rather for SOM in their prime, for whom he worked from 1956 to 1962. This was Max Gordon's point of departure in architecture, even if there was barely a trace of Miesianism in his built work (apart from his habitual use of the MR chair). Max's "almost nothing" turned as much on artistic minimalism in general as on the minimalism of Mies. That is to say, it displayed a similar affinity for such diverse minimalists as Luis Barragan in architecture or James Turrell in art. From Gordon Bunshaft, for whom he worked at SOM, he must have acquired the idea that a mid-twentieth century architect must also, as part of his professional commitment, be both a connoisseur and a patron of modern art."

Excerpt is reproduced from Kenneth Frampton's essay, "Almost Nothing," in Max Gordon: Architect for Art.

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