Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

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SCI-Arc Presents The Duck and The Document: Stories of Postmodern Procedures, Curated by Sylvia Lavin

By sciarcnews
Mar 9, '17 6:33 PM EST

The Duck and the Document: Stories of Postmodern Procedures

Curated by Sylvia Lavin

Associate Curator: Sarah Hearne

Exhibition Design: Besler & Sons

April 14 – May 28, 2017

April 14, 7pm: Opening Reception

SCI-Arc is pleased to announce, The Duck and the Document: Stores of Postmodern Procedures, curated by Sylvia Lavin. The Duck and the Document features a series of fragments, from handrails to façade panels, salvaged from canonic buildings of the late 20th century. Typically associated with drawing and the circulation of media images, postmodern architecture is generally understood to have been largely a matter of style and surface ornament, freed from the exigencies of political and technical systems by the force of architectural autonomy. The Duck and the Document challenges this view by embedding the expected imagery of postmodernity within materials that demonstrate the dense tangle of regulations, production specifications and technologies that constrained architectural design rather than liberated it. While these True Stories of Postmodern Procedures describe a less heroic and autonomous architect, they also produce a more persuasive account of architectural ingenuity as it sought to survive the bureaucratization not merely of the architectural profession but of the very idea of architecture. Featuring artifacts from the buildings and archives of Peter Eisenman, Deborah Sussman, Charles Moore, Mike Reynolds, SITE and others.

Sylvia Lavin is the Director of the Critical Studies M.A. and Ph.D. program in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA, where she was Chairperson from 1996 to 2006, and the Director of The Curatorial Project, a collaborative design and research group that supports the critical engagement with experimental architecture in the public realm. Ms. Lavin received her Ph.D. from the Department of Art and Archaeology at Columbia University in 1990 after having received fellowships from the Getty Center, the Kress Foundation and the Social Science Research Council. The MIT Press published her first books Quatremère de Quincy and the Invention of a Modern Language of Architecture and Form Follows Libido: Architecture and Richard Neutra in a Psychoanalytic Culture in 1992 and 2005. Her most recent books include, Kissing Architecture, published by Princeton University Press in 2011 and Flash in the Pan, an AA publication. Exhibitions curated by Ms. Lavin include The Artless Drawing: Works on Paper by Neil Denari, and Craig Hodgetts: Playmaker, at ACE Galleries, Los Angeles, Take Note: A Brief History of Conceptual Architecture at the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal and most recently Everything Loose Will Land. This large-scale examination of architecture and the arts in LA in the 1970s was a principal component of the Pacific Standard Time series supported by the Getty Foundation. Everything Loose opened at the MAK/Schindler house in Spring 2013 and traveled to the Graham Foundation in 2014 after being shown at the Yale School of Architecture. Ms. Lavin has taught at Princeton University, Harvard’s GSD, Columbia University and elsewhere, writes frequently for Artforum, Log and Perspecta and is the recipient of an Arts and Letters Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Research, curatorial and design assistance provided by the UCLA Curatorial Project Team.

This exhibition originated as Salvage at the Princeton University School of Architecture Gallery in spring 2016. A new and expanded iteration of the show will be on view at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in spring 2018

SCI-Arc exhibitions and public programs are made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs.

Public Programs

SCI-Arc public programs are subject to change beyond our control. For the most current information, please visit or call 213-613-2200.

Parking and Hours

The entrance to SCI-Arc’s parking lot is at 350 Merrick Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013, between Traction Avenue and 4th Street in Los Angeles. The SCI-Arc Gallery is open daily from 10am–6pm.