Now What?! Advocacy, Activism & Alliances in American Architecture Since 1968


Sheila C. Johnson Gallery, Parsons School of Design

April 13-27, 2018

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Organizers: ArchiteXX (Lori Brown, Andrea Merrett, Sarah Rafson)
Curatorial Advisors: S. Surface, Roberta Washington, Pascale Sablan
Opening Venue: Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons School of Design, New York
Date: April 13–27, 2018
Scope: Project Management

Press Release

The Civil Rights and Women’s Movements impacted every facet of US society, including architecture and design. Now What?! Advocacy, Activism & Alliances in American Architecture Since 1968 links the US design community to larger social and political movements of the late 20th century, placing design practice in the foreground and engaging viewers in critical conversations of history, progress, and the built environment. Now What?! acknowledges national and grassroots efforts by a wide coalition of organizations and professionals to change the face of architecture and design in the US.

In recent years, there has been a new wave of initiatives and advocacy emerging in the US that draw attention to these critical issues. This exhibition writes the overlooked histories of activist architects and organizations who were—and still are—at the forefront of the profession’s participation in larger social and political movements over the last 50 years, and suggests ways forward. This intersectional and interdisciplinary look at the design professions, draws historical connections and serves as the only comprehensive narrative of activism in US architecture and design that spans these generations and disparate causes. Now What?! offers an in-depth look at diversity and activism in the design professions since 1968, while crafting a space for public debate and dialogue that is interested in looking back as much as projecting forward.

After opening in New York at Parsons School of Design in April 2018, the exhibition will travel, incorporating local histories of the different cities it visits and telling the largely unknown history of how US architects and designers have responded to the major social movements of the late 20th century.