On Friday 8 November 2019, the exhibition Art on Display 1949-69 will open at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon. This exhibition is the result of a partnership between Het Nieuwe Instituut/Jaap Bakema Study Centre and the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. It will be on show in Lisbon until March 2020, after which it will get a follow-up at Het Nieuwe Instituut.
Art on Display 1949-69 investigates the relation between art, architecture and public by focusing on art exhibitions designed by architects, and is curated by Penelope Curtis (Gulbenkian Museum) and Dirk van den Heuvel (Jaap Bakema Study Centre).
In the postwar period, the small scale and interior qualities of museum contexts provided ample possibilities for architectural experimentation. This lead the British architect couple Alison and Peter Smithson to characterize exhibition design as ‘staging the possible’. Other architects from this period such as Aldo van Eyck, Lina Bo Bardi, Carlo Scarpa and Franco Albini were also explicitly probing the relation between art and architecture as a source of innovation. This attitude resulted in many different exhibition designs for permanent collections and contemporary avant-garde art shows. Moreover, Albini advised the Gulbenkian Museum on the construction of their museum building in 1969, which turns 50 years old this year.