Tidal Basin Ideas Lab

Co-curated with Thomas Mellins

This online exhibition showcased proposals from five landscape architecture firms – DLANDstudio, GGN, Hood Design Studio, James Corner Field Operations, and Reed Hilderbrand – that reimagine the future of the iconic Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. Now endangered, the Basin is home to monuments including the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, as well as 3,000 cherry trees that serve as the backdrop for a popular festival each spring. Comprised of newly commissioned films, digital animations, and photographs, the exhibition invited the public to explore the histories and challenges of the Tidal Basin and share feedback on ideas for the evolution of this important American landscape.


Press

Coverage on National Public Radio, architecturalrecord.com, architecturaldigest.com, and fastcompany.com


Credits

Co-curator: Thomas Mellins
Web designer: MGMT.design
Web developer: Gordils & Willis

Cool Is Everywhere

This book was a photographic survey of adaptive reuse design in 14 mid-sized American cities that have experienced dramatic revivals, including Richmond, Virginia; Oakland, California; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Albrecht’s introduction explored how the vibrancy of today’s smaller cities rests not only on broad cultural and economic factors, but also on three particular features: the preservation of historic buildings and places; the reclamation of degraded landscapes; and the fostering of small-sale industries described by hip city-dwellers as “maker culture.”


Credits
Photographer: Michel Arnaud
Writers: Michel Arnaud with Jane Creech
Designer: Danielle Youngsmith

Cycling in the City

Co-curated with Evan Friss

Cycling in the City traced the bicycle’s transformation of urban transportation and explored the extraordinary diversity of cycling cultures in the city, past and present. Featuring more than 150 artifacts, including 14 bicycles and cycling apparel, films, and graphic displays, the exhibition revealed the complex, creative, and often contentious relationship between New York and the bicycle ever since the first “velocipede” appeared on the city’s streets in 1819, exactly two centuries ago. Today, the bicycle continues to play an increasingly important role in New York City life, shaping what it means to live in a modern metropolis. Bicycles affect how we work, how we spend our leisure time, even how we define ourselves. The complex dance of cars, pedestrians, and bicycles continues to evolve, as the city promotes ambitious visions for a sustainable city and New Yorkers continue to seek simple, speedy, healthy, and environmentally-friendly ways to move about.

Working with co-curator Evan Friss, Mr. Albrecht developed the show’s themes, selected artifacts, wrote exhibition text, identified and worked with the design team.


Press

Coverage in the New York Times, Metropolis, Curbed, and featured as a segment of WNET/Channel 13’s “Sunday Arts” television program

“…an impressively comprehensive and exceptionally timely exploration of the bicycle’s impact on Gotham…” Dante A. Ciampaglia, Metropolis, March 21, 2019


Credits

Exhibition and graphic designer: Pure+Applied
Photographer: Rob Stephenson

Gay Gatherings

Co-curated with Thomas Mellins

Gay Gatherings: Philip Johnson, David Whitney and the Modern Arts explored interactions at the Johnson-designed Glass House, among eight gay men who profoundly shaped 20th-century artistic culture: Johnson and his longtime partner, curator/collector David Whitney; composer John Cage; choreographer Merce Cunningham; ballet impresario Lincoln Kirstein; and artists Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol.

Coincident with the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall Uprising in 1969, a watershed in the contemporary gay rights movement, Gay Gatherings underscored an essential element of the site’s history that has not been fully presented as part of its public interpretation. The exhibition highlighted the Glass House, completed 70 years ago in 1949, as a gathering place where these men’s work was collected, exhibited, and performed.

Gay Gatherings was presented in two buildings on the Glass House site. Da Monsta featured a specially created digital animation that visually showcased the relationships among the exhibition’s key figures, while the Painting Gallery displayed postcards, works of art, and photographs by David McCabe of Warhol’s visit to the Glass House in the mid-1960s.

Mr. Albrecht and Mr. Mellins conceived the idea of the show, selected all artifacts, co-authored exhibition text and the script of the digital animation, and worked with the design team.


Press

“Much changed in the political and cultural landscape in the 20 years separating Mr. Johnson’s protected stone-walled enclave from the grass-roots events of Stonewall, Mr. Albrecht noted. The artistic contributions of gay men ‘were increasingly acknowledged within mainstream culture, particularly through the generation-bridging work of Andy Warhol,’ he said. Gay Gatherings is an intimate look at a handful of men who drove some of the more rarefied aspects of that transformation.” Alan Bruton, New York Times, May 9, 2019


Credits

Exhibition and graphic designer, including animation: Pure+Applied
Photographer: Robin Hill 

Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs

Co-edited and written with Sean Corcoran

This 328-page book accompanied the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibition Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs. Chronicling the five years, from 1945 through 1950, when the future filmmaker worked at the pictorial magazine Look, the book brought together some 300 images by Kubrick, as well as rare Look magazine tear sheets. In his photographs, many unpublished, Kubrick trained his camera on his native city, drawing inspiration from the nightclubs, street scenes, and sporting events that made up his first assignments, and capturing the pathos of ordinary life with a sophistication that belied his young age. Co-editors Donald Albrecht and Sean Corcoran wrote an introductory essay, which traced the trajectory of Kubrick’s career at the magazine, and descriptions of Kubrick’s key assignments there. Noted photography critic Luc Sante contributed an essay that situated Kubrick within the contexts of postwar New York and other New York City photographers.

>See exhibition


Credits
Designer: Pure+Applied
Publishers: Museum of the City of New York and TASCHEN

Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs

Co-curated with Sean Corcoran

Stanley Kubrick was just 17 years old when he sold his first photograph to the pictorial magazine Look in 1945. In his photographs, many unpublished, Kubrick trained his camera on his native city, drawing inspiration from the nightclubs, street scenes, and sporting events that made up his first assignments, and capturing the pathos of ordinary life with a sophistication that belied his young age. Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs featured some 130 photographs by Kubrick from the Museum’s Look Magazine archive, an unparalleled collection that includes 129 photography assignments and more than 12,000 negatives from his five years as a staff photographer. For any fan of Kubrick’s films, the exhibition explored a formative phase in the career of one of the 20th century’s most renowned motion picture directors. Accompanied by a 328-page book.

Working with co-curator Sean Corcoran, Mr. Albrecht conceived the idea for the show and developed its themes, selected all photographs, wrote exhibition text, and worked with the design team.

>See exhibition catalog


Press
Coverage in numerous international print and digital sources, including the New York Times, New York Post, Washington Post, Independent (UK), and L’Oeil de la Photographie (France)

Through a Different Lens is an extraordinary chronicle of Kubrick’s evolving aesthetic…” Dante A. Ciampaglia, Daily Beast, May 9, 2018


Credits
Exhibition and graphic designer: Marissa Martonyi
Book design: Pure+Applied
Photographer: Brad Farwell and Filip Wolak (first image)

Toward a Livable City: New York and the Municipal Art Society

What makes a city livable? Is it public art, tree-shaded plazas, efficient street design, or the dynamic mix of old and new buildings? To the Municipal Art Society (MAS), the answer has been all of the above and more. This exhibition, presented at New York’s Center for Architecture, celebrated MAS’s 125th anniversary. Over its history, that organization has educated and inspired New Yorkers in all five boroughs to engage in the betterment of their city. It has addressed the vexing issues facing successive generations of New Yorkers, from transportation to historic preservation, and some of its efforts have had national ramifications.

All the while, MAS has advanced its mission through collaboration, a necessary mode of action to change any complex, modern city. Zelig-like, MAS has appeared in different guises throughout New York’s 20th- and 21st-century histories. It has conceived with, promoted alongside, and sometimes fought against the actors who shape the city: powerful government leaders, important institutions, and colorful individuals. Together, they have made New York New York, and MAS’s story is, in effect, the story of modern metropolitan life itself.

Mr. Albrecht conceived the concept of the show, developed its themes, and, working with MAS staff and consultants, selected images, wrote exhibition text, and worked with the design team.


Credits
Exhibition designer: Abbott Miller/Pentagram
Photographer: Brad Farwell

Mexico Modern: Art, Commerce, and Cultural Exchange

Co-edited and written with Thomas Mellins

This 176-page book accompanied the exhibition Mexico Modern, which explored two decades of dynamic cultural exchange between Mexico and the United States. Telling the rich story of the “Mexican moment” of the 1920s and 1930s, the book featured 200 illustrations and was organized in three parts. An introductory essay by University of Texas associate professor George F. Flaherty traced the connection between art and politics within the context of the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath. The editors’ essay explored how the Mexican moment was orchestrated in the United States, specifically as it played out in three cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. The third part of the book, also written by the editors, provided brief biographical texts and representative images devoted to 32 artists, designers and promoters who were key to the story. Taken together, the goal of both this book and the companion exhibition was to underscore the critical role played by personal and institutional networks—spanning two nations—in the creation of art, art audiences, art markets, and ultimately, art history

>See exhibition


Credits
Editors and primary authors: Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins
Designer: WIGEL, Munich
Publishers: Harry Ransom Center/University of Texas at Austin, Hirmer, and the Museum of the City of New York

Mexico Modern: Art, Commerce, and Cultural Exchange

Co-curated with Thomas Mellins

Mexico Modern explored two decades of dynamic cultural exchange between Mexico and the United States. It began around 1920, when the armed phase of a long and bitter revolution in Mexico ushered in new cultural ideals and programs, and continued into the mid-1940s, when contemporary Mexican art entered the mainstream in the United States. The exhibition underscored that art movements rarely conform to national borders; nor do they result from the efforts of artists alone. Transnational networks of individuals and institutions that seek, champion, and interpret great—often radically new—works of art are essential. Never has this been more the case than during the early 20th-century’s “Mexican moment.”

Widely acknowledged as a critical chapter in the history of 20th-century art, the rise of modernism in Mexico was activated by artists, museum curators, gallery owners, journalists, and publishers both in Mexico and the United States. These figures created and promoted an art that pioneered a synthesis of indigenous traditions, both ancient and contemporary, and international, modernist aesthetics. Chief among the artists who contributed to the creation of the “Mexican moment” were “los tres grandes”: Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Other important artists were Frida Kahlo, Miguel Covarrubias, and Jean Charlot; American jeweler William Spratling; and photographers Edward Weston and Tina Modotti. Accompanied by a 176-page book.

Working with Thomas Mellins, Mr. Albrecht conceived the idea of the exhibition, developed its themes, selected artifacts, wrote exhibition text, and worked with the design team.

>See exhibition catalog


Press
“By examining Mexican modern art through the lens of transnational connections, Mexico Modern: Art, Commerce, and Cultural Exchange not only explores a conversation between two countries and their vibrant artistic scenes but also contributes to a complicated and refined narrative about the grandeur of Mexican art.”
Cristóbal Jácome-Moreno, College Art Association Reviews, December 22, 2017

Credits
Exhibition and graphic designer: Harry Ransom Center/University of Texas at Austin
Exhibition video producer: Harry Ransom Center/University of Texas at Austin
Catalog graphic design: WIGEL, Munich

Elegance in the Sky

With some 75 buildings to his credit, Rosario Candela (1890 – 1953) played a major role in shaping the architectural legacy of 20th-century Manhattan—the distinctive “prewar” apartment buildings that define the cityscapes of streets like Park and Fifth Avenues and Sutton Place. Featuring photographs and furnishings, Elegance in the Sky explored Candela’s understated high rises that featured set-back terraces and neo-Georgian and Art Deco ornament to create the look of New York urbanism between the world wars.

Candela, an immigrant from Italy, came of age professionally in an era when the city’s 19th-century mansions and townhouses were being torn down and their residents adapting to apartment living. Working within a community of fellow architects, interior designers, and real estate developers (many of whom were Italian immigrants like himself), Candela met that demand by creating residential buildings that mixed single-story, duplex, and triplex units, all with spacious and graceful plans. Promoted with alluring marketing schemes, these structures established new standards of chic urban living for some of New York’s wealthiest citizens. Even today, almost a century after they were built, Candela’s buildings rank among the most prized in the city, and the phrase “designed by Rosario Candela” remains a real estate magnet.

Mr. Albrecht conceived the idea of the exhibition, developed the show’s themes, selected artifacts, wrote exhibition text, identified and worked with the design team.


Press

Coverage in Architectural Digest, Daily Mail (UK), New York Post, and Wall Street Journal

“a small but insightful exhibition” [that] “cracks the code of some of the most aspirational apartment houses in New York City…” Julie V. Iovine, Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2018

“plenty of scholarship is in evidence, along with a clever presentation and a wealth of information about the building blocks of domestic comfort, which may be Candela’s greatest contribution to architecture.” Pilar Viladas, Introspective magazine, June 3, 2018


Credits

Exhibition designer: Peter Pennoyer Architects/Mark Herring, senior designer
Exhibition graphic designer: Tsang/Seymour
Wall frieze artist: James Boyd
Photographer: Brad Farwell