Jean-Louis Cohen in conversation with Anna Bokov
Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 6:30 - 8pm
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Anna Bokov will be joined by Jean-Louis Cohen to discuss The Cooper Union’s exhibition, Vkhutemas: Laboratory of the Avant-Garde, 1920–1930 in parallel with Bokov’s book, Avant-Garde as Method: Vkhutemas and the Pedagogy of Space, 1920–1930 (Zurich: Park Books, 2020). An educational experiment of unprecedented scale and complexity, Vkhutemas—an acronym for the Higher Art and Technical Studios—translated radical experiments in art, architecture, and design into a systematized pedagogy. From its inception, the school sought to develop universal teaching methods based on scientific discoveries and artistic experimentation, while democratizing design education by making it accessible to formerly disenfranchised social classes. The discussion will focus on this formative period of modernism and will examine and question the legacy of this still little-known school within the history of modern art and architecture. The conversation will be moderated by Elisa Iturbe.
Jean-Louis Cohen is an architect and architectural historian specializing in modern architecture and city planning. He is the Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. Cohen's research activity focuses mainly on 20th-century architecture and urban planning. In particular, he has studied German and Soviet architectural cultures, colonial situations in North Africa, architecture during World War II, and extensively interpreted Le Corbusier's work and Paris planning history. His recent publications include Building a New World: Amerikanizm in Russian Architecture (2021), The Future of Architecture Since 1889 (London: Phaidon, 2012), and Architecture in Uniform (Paris: Hazan, 2011). He has been a curator for numerous exhibitions including “The Lost Vanguard,” at the Museum of Modern Art (2007); “Building a new New World,” “Scenes of the World to Come” and “Architecture in Uniform” at the Canadian Center for Architecture (2021, 1995 and 2011); as well as “Paris-Moscou” (1979) and the centennial show “L'aventure Le Corbusier” (1987), both at the Centre Georges Pompidou.
Anna Bokov is an architect, historian, and educator. She is a faculty member at The Cooper Union and Parsons in New York. She has taught at City College, and at Cornell, Yale, Northeastern, and Harvard Universities. Anna is a former fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture at the ETH Zurich and is a former member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton. She worked as an architect and urban designer at OMA, NBBJ, Ennead, and the City of Somerville. Anna is a recipient of multiple awards, including Graham Foundation grants and the Mellon Fellowship. Her scholarly work has been published widely, including by Log, IAS, The Journal of Architecture, Perspecta, the Walker Art Center, and MoMA. She holds a Ph.D. from Yale University and an M.Arch. from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Anna's recent award-winning book Avant-Garde as Method: Vkhutemas and the Pedagogy of Space, 1920–1930 (Zurich: Park Books, 2020) is dedicated to the Soviet counterpart of the Bauhaus.
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