For the eyes and the mind: The exhibition theory of Bernard Rudofsky

The Austrian architect Bernard Rudofsky has regularly written about his work and the work of other designers, developing critical texts on the discipline of design, publishing essays and exhibition catalogues. He advanced his thoughts on design in his writings, and in his collaborations with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, he was able to experiment with his theories on exhibition design.

Starting from the significance and achievements of the discipline, the purpose of this research study is to recognize the role of Rudofsky in the development of the theoretical, critical and historical discourse on design, and in particular that original vision of his work which he defined as the Art of Display, relating it to the historical context and focusing on the lessons to be learned.


The full version of this entry is only available in Italian.

Fashion and the Museum. The exhibition “Are Clothes Modern?” and the Costume Institute

The exhibition Are Clothes Modern? organized by Bernard Rudofsky in 1944 at The Museum of Modern Art approached fashion as a phenomenon in contrast to the principles of industrial design and architecture. It can be considered the first theoretical attempt to define fashion design as a discipline. In 1946 the Metropolitan Museum of Art began the process of creating the Costume Institute, which will become an official department in 1959. From its first exhibitions in the Forties up to the curatorial work of Diana Vreeland, Special Consultant from 1972 to 1989, this institution has always been the privileged place to define fashion through exhibiting. The comparison between Rudofsky’s project and the Costume Institute’s activities become the starting point for reflecting on the nature of a fashion exhibition and its theoretical foundations in relation to the museum.