December 16, 2010
Within Louis Kahn’s burnished steel jewel box, the Yale Center for British Art at Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, is a remarkable exhibition of the recently forgotten British architect Sir James Stirling. Co-produced by the Yale Center and the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, this sly show is a sleight of hand. Guest curator Anthony Vidler, dean of The Cooper Union’s architecture school in New York, avoids making any conclusions about Stirling’s work. Nevertheless, he has organized the exhibition into thematic categories that shed light on the contradictory work of this controversial master. At the time of his early death at 68 in 1992, Stirling was wildly popular, although mainly among architects. Today, in part because of the extraordinarily rapid MTV -like cycle of fame, most young architects have never heard of him.