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Barbican Art Gallery transformed by a major exhibition on OMA: One of the most influential architectural practices
EU Barcode, Netherlands, Rotterdam, 2001 © OMA. Courtesy Barbican Art Gallery.
LONDON.- This autumn Barbican Art Gallery will be transformed by a major exhibition on OMA, one of the most influential architectural practices working today. Known for their daring ideas, extraordinary buildings and obsession with the rapid pulse of modern life, OMA play an active role in the architectural, engineering and cultural ideas that are shaping our world. Founded by polymath Rem Koolhaas in 1975, OMA currently comprises seven partners and a staff of around 280 architects, designers and researchers working in offices in Rotterdam, New York, Beijing and Hong Kong. OMA / Progress is the first major presentation of OMA’s work in the UK and coincides with the opening of their first buildings here, Rothschild Bank HQ in the City of London and a Maggie’s Centre in Gartnavel, Glasgow.

OMA / Progress is guest curated by the Brussels-based collective Rotor, who were behind the much praised Belgian Pavilion at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale. With unprecedented access to OMA’s archives and daily practice, Rotor has selected and arranged a wide range of materials, relics, documentation, imagery and models yielding fresh perspectives on OMA’s built and unbuilt projects and conceptual work. Rotor comments: ‘Our ambition is to make a portrait of OMA accepting its contradictions. What we try to do is reach beyond polemics to create a space where nuance is possible’.

OMA / Progress delves into the inner workings of OMA’s intense productivity, providing up-to-the minute detailed insight into OMA operations across Europe, Africa, Asia and America. It features projects currently in development including the Prada Foundation, Milan; those under construction such as Cornell University’s Milstein Hall, New York; and the CCTV headquarters in Beijing; recent competition entries like the Broad Art Museum in Los Angeles; and those that are on-hold indefinitely, like the Dubai Renaissance hotel and the White City masterplan in London. Recent projects by OMA’s research unit, AMO, are also on show, including its plans for a European renewable energy grid, a curatorial masterplan for the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, and the work of Strelka, a new postgraduate school that AMO helped set up in Moscow.

Triggered by OMA’s preoccupation with architectural preservation, the west entrance of Barbican Art Gallery is opened up for the first time in the building’s history, making the exhibition spaces directly accessible from the high walks of the surrounding Barbican Estate. With the existing entrance also in use, visitors are able to freely walk through and occupy the space in the way originally intended by Barbican architects, Chamberlin, Powell & Bonn. Upon entering the gallery visitors are immersed in an abundance of photographic, filmic and written material generated by OMA, from the 1970s to now. An OMA-curated shop features a wide range of products, including OMA’s seminal books from Delirious New York ( 1978), S, M, L, XL (1995) to Al Manakh (2007 & 2010) and the brand new Project Japan: Metabolism Talks, together with a selection of publications that inform and inspire their buildings and ideas.

The carefully orchestrated upper galleries feature a diverse and unexpected range of objects, photographs and films selected by Rotor from OMA’s archives and offices worldwide. Highlights include Koolhaas’s hand-written faxes; colour prints by German photographer Candida Hoefer of the Dutch Embassy in Berlin; a drawing of how to cut the form of CCTV from a block of foam in four easy steps; and samples of the skin of the Prada Transformer Pavilion (Seoul 2009). Displayed on their own or in juxtaposition the exhibits tell revealing and often surprising stories about OMA’s unprecedented and intuitive ways of working.

Installed on the Barbican’s sculpture court the exhibition also includes a 1:1 footprint of OMA’s design for the next Maggie’s Centre in Glasgow, allowing visitors the opportunity to walk over, through and around the plan to investigate and playfully imagine the building themselves.

A programme of live events will tackle the question of progress in architecture and society and illuminate the work of OMA. The headline event, OMA: Show & Tell on Tuesday 25 October in Barbican Theatre brings together all seven partners from OMA for the first time in public, to examine and debate the nature of society, progress and the built environment across the world today.

Barbican Art Gallery | OMA | Rem Koolhaas |




Last Week News

October 5, 2011

Tate Modern launches a major retrospective of German artist Gerhard Richter's work

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Some 200 paintings and other works from the Steins' collection at Paris' Grand Palais

Toledo Museum of Art acquires stunning masterwork by Dutch artist Frans Hals

"Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence" opens at the Fitzwilliam Museum

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Exhibition of portraits by Julia Margaret Cameron at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs

The Museo del Prado shows Goya's first documented painting for a period of six years

Walters Art Museum removes copyright restrictions on 10,000 images

Elvira Dyangani Ose appointed Curator of international art with a focus on Africa at Tate Modern

Ayyam Auctions announces sale of art and antiques of the Islamic world: The Ottoman Levant

Two Polish paintings by Julian Falat stolen and then seized in New York return to Poland

John Lennon letter on Maharishi to be auctioned at Nate D. Sanders' in Los Angeles

Byzantine and Christian Museum Athens-exhibition "Within/Without Borders"

Installation by conceptual artist Lee Mingwei on view at the Brooklyn Museum

The last bell from the Mauretania in private hands to be offered in Maritime sale

American painter Elihu Vedder's work from his journey up the Nile on view at the Hudson River Museum

Sotheby's fine Chinese painting sale bucks rocky markets

The Art of Playboy, Gil Elvgren, Golden Age greats headline Fall New York illustration art auction

Gregg Chadwick's Theater of Memory at the Monterey Peninsula College Art Gallery

October 4, 2011

Major retrospective of the work of Alighiero Boetti opens at Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid

Stunning painting by Mark Rothko on view at the Princeton University Art Museum

Photographer Harry Callahan centennial celebrated at the National Gallery of Art

German artist Gerhard Richter to illuminate Christie's Post-War & Contemporary art auction

Sales success at second Ullens Collection auction at Sotheby's in Hong Kong

Sotheby's to sell one of the most important works by Vilhelm Hammershoi to come to auction

Bonhams new "Period Art & Design" auction format set to launch in November

Exciting new exhibition: MarklinWorld, shows models of the world by 40 international artists

Christie's New York announces sale of over 150 fine musical instruments on October 14

Retrospective exhibition spanning 44 years of Niki de Saint Phalle's work at Nohra Haime Gallery

WOHA's The Met Building in Bangkok wins prestigious RIBA Lubetkin Prize 2011

Wendy Mark returns to watercolors and oils on paper in new exhibition at Jill Newhouse Gallery

National Maritime Museum reopens in Amsterdam after extensive renovation to building

Sotheby's Hong Kong Modern & Contemporary Southeast Asian paintings sale achieves 10.6 million

DeCordova announces acquisition of Dan Graham's Crazy Spheroid – Two Entrances

Los Angeles puts "PST" time stamp on art world

Bush lauds construction of presidential library

Dr. Jack Kevorkian's art, belongings to be sold

Beatles photographer Robert Whitaker dies at 71

October 3, 2011

Jeu de Paume's touring exhibition of photographs by André Kertész opens in Budapest

Exhibition shows the backbone of Moderna Museet's Marcel Duchamp collection

For the first time in 30 years, Saint Louis Art Museum reunites Monet's Water Lilies

Tayler and Fletcher to offer to the market a previously unknown work by Anders Leonard Zorn

Beyond Words: Photography in The New Yorker at Howard Greenberg Gallery

Andy Warhol Museum opens exhibition by today's foremost comic book artist: Alex Ross

Olafur Eliasson at the 17th International Contemporary Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil

Danh Vo shifts the focus of his artistic investigations to the concept of freedom at Kunsthalle Fridericianum

Stunning Portraits Reveal the Political Savvy of One of History's Most Powerful Women

John Singer Sargent's An Interior in Venice and Elizabeth Allen Marquand on view in Princeton

First major Ford Madox Brown exhibition since 1964 opens at Manchester Art Gallery

Los Angeles' latest art project is 340 tons, rock solid and costing $5 million to $10 million

The Hammer Museum presents "Now Dig This!" Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980

Architect Hadid's zig-zag school wins top UK prize

Sotheby's wine sale draws Asia buyers despite turmoil

Dreams for National Slavery Museum caught in bankruptcy

Exhibition of 19 intimate color photographs by Lori Grinker at Nailya Alexander Gallery

St. Patrick's School Library and Music Room in London wins the RIBA's 2011 Stephen Lawrence Prize

Legendary Audubon Paintings on Display at Daytona Beach Museum

Kansas City public art project takes on debt

October 2, 2011

J. Paul Getty Museum explores the birth of the Los Angeles art scene with a historic survey

Three men investigated over $130 million art heist from Paris' Museum of Modern Art

Exhibition of Georg Baselitz as sculptor opens at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Sotheby's to offer works from the collection of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Epic exhibition at Metropolitan Museum reexamines African art in relation to historic figures

LACMA presents first major exhibition of mid-century Modern California design

Photographs from the W.M. Hunt Collection exhibition is largest ever for George Eastman House

Bonhams Fall furniture and decorative arts sale to feature prominent San Francisco highlights

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Costa Rica reclaims artifacts from the prestigious Brooklyn Museum in New York

Museum of Science presents A Day in Pompeii: One of the world's greatest archaeological discoveries

Two New York City-themed exhibitions open this weekend at The Katonah Museum of Art

"'Something of Splendor': Decorative Arts from the White House" opens at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery

National Gallery of Victoria opens exhibition by the founding artists of the Western Desert art movement

First major retrospective in Germany of the renowned British architect James Frazer Stirling opens

Silke Otto-Knapp's first solo museum exhibition in the United States at the Berkeley Art Museum

Masterpieces of Civil War Portraiture from the Burns Collection at Robert Anderson Gallery

Columbus Museum of Art celebrates the Bicentennial of the City of Columbus with exhibition

Picturing the City: Downtown Pittsburgh, 2007-2010 at the Carnegie Museum of Art

October 1, 2011

First exhibition in Switzerland devoted to Surrealism opens at Fondation Beyeler in Basel

Joan Miró's Triptych "Mural Painting I-III" Installed at National Gallery of Art, Washington

Paul Klee & Cobra explored in major exhibition at the Louisiana Museum in Denmark

"Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California" exhibit at the Norton Simon Museum

Roving art show on view at the Provincial Museum brings Pablo Picasso to Cuban masses

Berlin Medical Historical Museum returning Namibian skulls to tribal leaders

New York City's Museum of Arts and Design exhibit focuses on jewelry by famous artists

Cyprus to get back rare 13th-century Orthodox frescoes from United States museum

Doyle New York to auction prints and books from the Creekmore and Adele Fath Charitable Foundation

Sotheby's New York to offer six works to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation

Leading black contemporary artists featured at Washington's Corcoran Gallery

University of Oklahoma's Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art launches new Robert Rauschenberg exhibition

World record prices achieved at Christie's Travel, Science and Natural History auction

Anri Sala exhibition featuring daily saxophone performances by Andre Vida

Rachel Goodyear exhibition opens at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Sunday Art Fair returning to London this October

Celebrating ceramics in the city: The British Ceramics Biennial returns to Stoke-on-Trent 2011

Daniel Meadows: Early photographic works at the National Media Museum

French Ambassador to visit the Dixon in Memphis for Final Week of Forain Retrospective

September 30, 2011

"Max Liebermann: Trailblazer of Modernism" exhibition at Hamburger Kunsthalle

Sotheby's New York announces a varied range of photographs for sale this October

Vasili Vasilievich Vereshchagin painting to highlight Sotheby's auction of important Russian art

The Peredvizhniki: Pioneers of Russian painting exhibition opens at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm

Exhibition Celebrating Late Renaissance Master Perino del Vaga at Metropolitan Museum

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Unique Force India Formula One 'Art Car' to go under the hammer for charity at RM Auctions

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The Schirn Kunsthalle dedicates a solo exhibition to the Icelandic artist Gabriela Fridriksdottir

Marie Antoinette to McQueen in French fashion exhibit at the Grand Trianon at Versailles

Phillips de Pury & Co. and the Guggenheim Museum announce auction of contemporary works

Contents of Lord Glenconner's St Lucian home make 1 million+ at Bonhams

Whitney Museum awarded prestigious grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences

A rare Moravian pottery owl bottle, circa 1800-1820 to highlight Bonhams sale

Syrian revolt ignites revolutionary art boom

Prominent Cleveland Physician's Estate to be sold by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

New York artist & furniture dealer Robert Loughlin dies

Piece by piece, Afghanistan reclaims its history

The San Diego Museum of Art appoints two new Deputy Directors

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