Mies van der Rohe designed an ideal museum for a small city. He had tried to make the architecture ‘almost nothing’ and the paintings and sculpture (for which the museum would be built) everything. His beautiful drawings and collages for this project show a large, glass-enclosed space, lightly subdivided by free-standing walls and screens against which to hang paintings or place sculpture. Indeed, Mies’s incredible modesty was never better expressed than in the collages he prepared for this project: for these the only elements visible at first are the photographic reproductions of important paintings and pieces of sculpture; one must actually search with a magnifying glass for any evidence of the architecture that is supposed to enclose these works of ar t, for the only indication of any building whatsoever is a series of fine lines suggesting a few slender columns and the paving pattern of the floor. How different from Wright’s Guggenheim Museum, whose powerful, plastic forms overwhelm all but the most self-assertive works of art!
In 1949 Peter Blake designed a project called the “Ideal Museum,” in which Jackson Pollock’s large drip paintings were to hover within an all-glass pavilion and merge with the surrounding landscape. Basing the structure loosely on Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s unbuilt “Museum for a Small City,” Blake made a model with miniature reductions of Pollock’s canvases. The artist got involved too, fabricating several small-scale plaster sculptures for the model.
The Ideal Museum was never built.
Now In Second Life we have a chance to walk through such a museum in its first of many incarnations.
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