Doris Duke’s Shangri La

Co-curated with Thomas Mellins

Tour of 7 American cities from New York to Los Angeles and Honolulu 2012-2015

This traveling exhibition explored Doris Duke’s Shangri La, a five-acre estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Honolulu. Begun in the mid-1930s and developed over the course of more than fifty years, Shangri La seamlessly melds together modern architecture, tropical landscape, and art from throughout the Islamic world. Representing an approach that may be termed “inventive synthesis,” Shangri La mixes original and commissioned architectural elements, sometimes incorporating complete historic rooms that function as museum-quality period installations. Shangri La’s collections are equally diverse and encompass a broad time spectrum, from the pre-Islamic and mediaeval periods through the mid-20th century, as well as myriad media, styles, and techniques developed within the realm of the Islamic arts. The exhibition combined artifacts, newly commissioned and historic photographs, drawings, and ephemera, as well as works of five artists who have participated in Shangri La’s artists-in-residence program. Accompanied by a 216-page catalog.

Working with co-curator Thomas Mellins, Mr. Albrecht conceived the show’s themes and organization, identified its designer, selected all artifacts, and edited and contributed to the catalog.

> See exhibition catalog


Press
Articles in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and the New York Times

The exhibition “has been as been organized by Donald Albrecht and Tom Mellins, guest curators, who manage to convey the expansive glamour of Shangri La…and also take care to acknowledge the architects, dealers, art historians and craftsmen who realized Duke’s vision….The show is certainly one of the best places to see Islamic art in New York right now…”
Karen Rosenberg, New York Times, September 6, 2012


Credits
Co-curator: Thomas Mellins
Exhibition designer: Abbott Miller/Pentagram
Photographs: Tim Street-Porter

Cecil Beaton: The NY Years

From the 1920s through the 1960s, New York’s cultural and social elites embraced British–born Cecil Beaton—photographer, designer, and notorious man–about–town. Beaton’s fashion photographs dominated the pages of Vogue in the 1930s. Cultural icons from Greta Garbo to Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote, Andy Warhol, and Mick Jagger had their portraits taken by him. Beaton designed ballets for George Balanchine, operas like La Traviata for the Met, and Broadway shows, most famously My Fair Lady in 1956. Featuring vintage photographs, drawings, costumes, and ephemera, the exhibition was accompanied by a 240–page catalog.

Mr. Albrecht developed the idea of the show and catalog, selected all the artifacts, and wrote the exhibition text and catalog.

> See exhibition catalog


Press
Print and online coverage in W, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, the New York Times, gothamist.com,
and thedailybeast.com

“It is a pleasure to leaf through the thick pages of
Cecil Beaton: The New York Years and see Greta Garbo
at her mysterious peak and Marilyn Monroe at her most luscious.” Joseph Berger, New York Times Book Review, December 2, 2011

“This magnificent opus…is worthy of its special subject.”
Robert Birnbaum, thedailybeast.com, December 22, 2011


Credits
Exhibition and catalog designer: Pure+Applied
Custom muralist: Milree Hughes
Lighting designer: Anita Jorgensen
Installation photographer: Bilyana Dimitrova

Cars, Culture and the City

Cars, Culture, and the City explored how the car shaped modern-day New York, while, at the same time, New York shaped America’s romance with the car. From the early 20th century through today, New Yorkers’ invention of innovative ways to accommodate cars and pedestrians, such as multi-level streets, and the construction of bridges and tunnels made the city the epicenter of a vast, tri-state region. In the formative decades from the turn of the century through the 1960s, New Yorkers also built the auto showrooms and hosted the annual auto shows and world’s fairs that created the magic of American car culture. The exhibition was accompanied by a 100-page catalog.

Mr. Albrecht and his co-curator developed the idea of the show and catalog, selected all the artifacts, and wrote the exhibition text and catalog.

> See exhibition catalog
Co-authored with Phil Patton


Credits
Co-curator: Phil Patton
Exhibition and catalog designer: Pure+Applied
Lighting designer: Anita Jorgensen
Installation photographer: Bilyana Dmitrova

Only in New York

Exploring New York City from the mid-1940s until the early 1960s, the exhibition Only in New York: Photographs from Look Magazine accompanies the publication of the first-ever book devoted to the MCNY’s extraordinary Look photography collection. To Look‘s editors and photographers, among them Stanley Kubrick, New York was both a newly emergent international capital of world-class museums and glamorous nightclubs as well as a hometown for millions who rode its subways and thrilled to its baseball teams. The exhibition features images from the book and historic Look magazines, which demonstrate how Look used images to tell its national readership about the city they called “the world’s most exciting.”

Co-curated with Thomas Mellins.

> See exhibition catalog


Credits
Exhibition and catalog designer: Pure+Applied

Paris/New York

Paris/New York explored the period between the world wars when New York City, looking to Paris for inspiration, became the international cultural capital it is today. Bringing together well-known figures such as Josephine Baker and Salvador Dali and reviving the reputations of forgotten ones, the show examined the Paris/New York dialogue in the fields of architecture, furniture design, fashion, painting, and the performing arts, among other spheres. The exhibition was accompanied by a 240-page catalog.

Mr. Albrecht conceived the idea of the show and catalog, selected all artifacts, wrote exhibition text, and assembled the design team and catalog essayists.

> See exhibition catalog


Press
Features and reviews in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times.

“Mr. Albrecht has done a superb job of extracting maximum wattage from every juxtaposition, object and image, including a great many surprisingly effective digital reproductions.”
Roberta Smith, New York Times, October 2, 2008


Credits
Exhibition and catalog designer: Pure+Applied
Lighting designer: Anita Jorgensen
Installation photographer: Bilyana Dmitrova

The Mythic City

Capturing in some 150 lustrous black-and-white photographs a “mythic moment” in New York City’s history—the era of Rockefeller Center, the 1939/40 World’s Fair, and other Art Deco monuments—this exhibition focused on the work of Samuel H. Gottscho (1875–1971). The show was drawn exclusively from the Museum’s photography collection. Accompanied by a 224-page book.

Mr. Albrecht conceived the idea of the show and catalogue, selected all artifacts, wrote exhibition text, and assembled the design team.

> See exhibition catalog


Press

“…no other lensman of his era projected a vision of Manhattan’s style and sophistication with the same panache.”
Grace Glueck, New York Times, January 20, 2006

“The most romantic exhibit in New York right now…”
Ariella Budick, Newsday, December 16, 2005


Credits
Exhibition and catalogue designer: Pure+Applied
Installation photographer: Agatha Wasilewska

On the Job

The century-long history of the American office and how it has both reflected and shaped life in the United States was visually depicted in this exhibition through architectural models, innovative furniture and equipment, and excerpts from popular films and television programs. Newly commissioned computer fly-throughs of Frank Lloyd Wright’s now-demolished Larkin Building in Buffalo, New York, offered visitors the opportunity of experience the interior spaces of what is today considered the first truly modern office building. Presented at the moment when new mobile technologies were becoming increasingly common, the exhibition featured computer stations that gave visitors the chance to determine their workplace preferences, from traditional offices to home offices and Internet cafes.

Mr. Albrecht and his co-curator conceived the idea of the show and catalog, selected all artifacts, wrote exhibition text, and assembled the design team and catalog essayists.

> See exhibition catalog


Credits
Co-curator: Chryansthe Broikos
Exhibition and catalog designer: Abbott Miller

WWII and the American Dream

This exhibition explored the impact of wartime construction, from air craft plants to defense housing, on postwar American life.

Mr. Albrecht conceived the idea of the show and catalogue, selected all artifacts, wrote exhibition text, assembled the design team and catalogue essayists.


Press
“World War II and the American Dream,” the National Building Museum’s outstanding survey of military construction…Organized by Donald Albrecht, an architect and independent curator, and presented in a superb installation designed by the architect and critic Michael Sorkin and J. Abbott Miller, a graphic designer, the show pulls into coherent shape a wide range of artifacts: photo murals of bomb factories, prototypes for new consumer products, clips from wartime propaganda films, Hollywood pinups, a full-scale Quonset hut and other materials that illustrate the rise of a superpower.”
Herbert Muschamp, New York Times, January 8, 1995


Credits
Exhibition designer: Michael Sorkin
Exhibition graphic designer: Abbott Miller
Installation photographer: Paul Warchol

Stay Cool!

This exhibition told the story of the technological, social, and cultural influences of air conditioning on American life, from the creation of the Sunbelt to changes in home and office design and the emergence of summer blockbuster movies in air-cooled theaters.

With his co-curator, Mr. Albrecht developed the idea of the show, selected all artifacts, wrote exhibition text, and assembled the design team.


Credits
Co-curator: Chrysanthe Broikos
Exhibition and graphic designers: Michael Bierut and James Biber/Pentagram
Installation photographer: Gen Bauer Photographics