Tate Britain Opens James Stirling: Notes from the Archive

Britain presents James Stirling: Notes from the Archive, an exhibition of selected material from the rich archive of renowned British architect, teacher and Pritzker Prize laureate James Stirling (1924–92).

Marking a resurgence of interest in his work, this will be the first architecture exhibition to be shown at Tate Britain and will be displayed in the Clore Gallery, a building project completed by Stirling himself. Drawn from the recently-catalogued James Stirling/Michael Wilford fonds at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, the exhibition is co-organised by the CCA and Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. James Stirling: Notes from the Archive also coincides with the Tate Britain Millbank Project, the first stage of a collaboration with Caruso St John Architects to renovate and improve Tate Britain. Open Tuesday 5 April – Sunday 21 August 2011.

James Stirling is increasingly regarded as one of the most innovative architects of the twentieth century and is also a significant figure in the history of Tate, having designed the Clore Gallery (1980–1987) and Tate Liverpool on the Albert Dock (1984–1988). Over twenty years on, and as Tate Britain enters a new phase of architectural development, this exhibition aims to encourage visitors to consider Stirling’s legacy and look again at the building and its site.

Spanning five decades and showcasing over three hundred rarely seen drawings, models, photographs, notebooks and sketches, James Stirling: Notes from the Archive will reveal Stirling’s design process and particularly his interest in the interplay between tradition and modernity. Stirling’s groundbreaking practice and partnerships will also be explored, including his early student work, the projects in partnership with James Gowan which brought them international attention in the 1960s, and his collaborative work with Michael Wilford from 1971. Materials such as a bird watching diary compiled as a schoolboy demonstrate Stirling’s life-long appreciation of natural habitats whilst illustrating his extraordinary talent for detailed observation. Acclaimed projects such as the Leicester University engineering building (1959–1963), the History Faculty building at Cambridge University (1964–1967), The Neue Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart (1977–1984) and Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University (1979–1984) will be investigated in detail alongside unfinished and unrealised projects, highlighting Stirling’s ambition to establish a style that was both British and modern.

James Stirling: Notes from the Archive has been curated by Anthony Vidler, Dean and Professor of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union, and developed for Tate Britain by Penelope Curtis, Director and Tim Batchelor, Assistant Curator, Tate Britain. The exhibition will come to the Clore Gallery from the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, before continuing its tour to The Neue Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart and the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated book, published by the Canadian Centre for Architecture and Yale Center for British Art, in association with Yale University Press, and supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Re-thinking James Stirling, a conference organised by Mark Crinson (Professor of Art History at the University of Manchester) and Christoph Grafe (Director of the Flemish Architecture Institute, Antwerp) will take place in the Clore Auditorium on Saturday 11 June 2011.

Image: Clore Gallery (Tate Britain) London, England: study model for the east elevation 1978–86 wood, cardboard, plastic and paint AP140.S2.SS1.D60.SD1.P127 James Stirling / Michael Wilford fonds, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal © CCA


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