“Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980 is the first major US exhibition to study the remarkable body of architectural work from Yugoslavia that sparked international interest during the 45 years of the country’s existence. The exhibition investigates architecture’s capacity to produce a shared civic space and common history in a highly diverse, multiethnic society through more than 400 drawings, models, photographs, and film reels culled from an array of municipal archives, family-held collections, and museums across the region. Tasked with constructing a socialist society based on “self-management,” modern architecture was a key instrument in the implementation of a utopian vision in a perpetual state of emergence; many of the featured visionary projects and executed buildings speak to architecture’s aspirational role in terms of both design and social impact.
With galleries dedicated to Modernization, Global Networks, Everyday Life, and Identities, the exhibition explores themes of large-scale urbanization, technological experimentation and its application in everyday life, consumerism, monuments and memorialization, and the global reach of Yugoslav architecture. Featuring work by exceptional architects, including Bogdan Bogdanović, Juraj Neidhardt, Svetlana Kana Radević, Edvard Ravnikar, Vjenceslav Richter, and Milica Šterić, the exhibition examines the unique range of forms and modes of production in Yugoslav architecture and its distinct yet multifaceted character. In addition to architectural work, Toward a Concrete Utopia also includes three video installations by renowned filmmaker Mila Turajlić, newly commissioned photographs by Valentin Jeck, and contemporary artworks by Jasmina Cibic and David Maljković.” — MoMA
“Historically speaking, a thorough investigation of the architectural production of socialist Yugoslavia will lead to a better understanding of an important but understudied chapter of architectural history in the bifurcated world order of the Cold War,” said Martino Stierli. “From a contemporary point of view, this body of work serves as a reminder that architecture can only thrive when there is a broad societal understanding of architecture’s power to transform and elevate society and the quality of life it offers citizens.”
Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948– 1980 is organized by Martino Stierli, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and Vladimir Kulić , Associate Professor, Florida Atlantic University, with Anna Kats, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.
Images courtesy The Museum of Modern Art.