Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980 at The Museum of Modern Art, July 15, 2018–January 13, 2019

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

Urban Planning Institute of Belgrade. Belgrade Master Plan. 1949–50. Belgrade, Serbia. Plan 1:10000. 1951. Ink and tempera on diazotype, 64 9/16 x 9 3/4″ (164 x 233 cm). Urban Planning Institute of Belgrade

Uglješa Bogunović, Slobodan Janjić, and Milan Krstić. Avala TV Tower. 1960–65 (destroyed in 1999 and rebuilt in 2010). Mount Avala, near Belgrade, Serbia. Exterior view. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Milan Mihelič. S2 Office Tower. 1972–78. Ljubljana, Slovenia. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Andrija Mutnjaković. National and University Library of Kosovo. 1971–82. Prishtina, Kosovo. Exterior view. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Janko Konstantinov. Telecommunications Center. 1968–81. Skopje, Macedonia. View of the Southwestern Block façade. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Exhibition poster for the retrospective of architect Janko Konstantinov, 1984. Collage diazotype and tracing paper. Personal archive of Jovan Ivanovski

Vjenceslav Richter. Yugoslav Pavilion at Expo 58. 1958. Brussels, Belgium. Archive of Yugoslavia

Dinko Kovačić and Mihajlo Zorić. Braće Borozan building block in Split 3. 1970–79. Split, Croatia. Exterior view. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Ivan Vitić. Apartment Building on Laginjina Street. 1957–62. Zagreb, Croatia. Perspective drawing, 1960. Tempera, pencil, and ink on paper, 27 15/16 × 39 3/8″ (71 × 100 cm). Ivan Vitić Archive, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Zlatko Ugljen. Šerefudin White Mosque. 1969–79. Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Interior view. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Edvard Ravnikar. Revolution Square (today Republic Square). 1960–74. Ljubljana, Slovenia. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Živa Baraga and Janez Lenassi. Monument to the Fighters Fallen in the People’s Liberation Struggle. 1965. Ilirska Bistrica, Slovenia. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Jordan and Iskra Grabul. Monument to the Ilinden Uprising. 1970–73. Kruševo, Macedonia. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Berislav Šerbetić and Vojin Bakić. Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija. 1979–81. Petrova Gora, Croatia. Exterior view. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Miodrag Živković. Monument to the Battle of the Sutjeska. 1965–71, Tjentište, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016

“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.