NewSchool is pleased to announce our 2018 Convocation Lecture by William J.R. Curtis. This event is free and open to all NewSchool students, faculty, alumni, staff, and the general public.
William J.R. Curtis | A Meditation on Light
Architecture needs light to be rendered visible yet light also needs architecture to acquire meaning and form. Light is a dominant obsession in all my work as an artist and in all media: painting, drawing, photography. Light itself is invisible; we know it through its secondary effects on air, vapor, water, solids, voids, stone, plants, animal and human life – and of course architecture. Most past civilizations have placed light near the centre of their cosmologies. Light is a fundamental and universal material of architecture and it can be invested with many meanings. In architecture light and space are intimately related to one another. But let us not forget the role and significance of shadows. In many foundation myths, the origin of things is presented as an eternal darkness suddenly interrupted by the intrusion of a ray of light: the beginning of the universe. But is light an absence of shadow, or shadow an absence of light?
About the Lecturer
William J.R. Curtis is an award-winning historian, critic, painter, and photographer who has taught at many universities around the world, including Harvard University and Cambridge University (Slade Professor of Fine Art, 2003-4). He teaches history and theory but places special emphasis upon the direct experience of buildings and the role of drawings in analyzing and transforming what is seen. Abstraction is at the centre of his worldview. His best-known books include Modern Architecture Since 1900 (3rd ed, Phaidon, 1996) and Le Corbusier Ideas and Forms (2nd ed, Phaidon, 2015), both widely translated and referred to as classics. Curtis has written numerous other books on historical and contemporary architecture including monographs on RCR Aranda Pigem Vilalta Arquitectes (Pritzker 2017) and Balkrishna Doshi (Pritzker 2018). He contributes regularly to international critical journals such as the Architectural Review and El Croquis.