‘Is Architecture Art?’ Professor John Macarthur responds to this provocation in a one-hour lecture about why the question persists during this Melbourne Design Week event at NGV.
There is no robust answer to this question. Sometimes, in some places, architecture is an art; and sometimes not. What is interesting are those sites and times where various concepts, professional interests, and categories of culture are rearranged and reimagined in order to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Today as the architectural pavilion phenomenon expands apace, as aspects of art practice become more focused on built constructions, and as art galleries are increasingly committed to showing architecture, we might expect the answer to be ‘yes!” But, in fact, it is more likely to be ‘no’; as the crossing of disciplinary practices seems to require strong definitions of those disciplines. In this lecture John Macarthur explores some of the paradoxes of present day intersections between art and architecture and the surprising persistence of some older questions.
John Macarthur FAHA, is Professor of Architecture at the University of Queensland where he teaches history, theory and design. He was the founding Director of the ATCH Research Centre (architecture, theory, criticism and history). His research on the intellectual history of architecture has focused on the conceptual framework of the relation of architecture and the visual arts from the Picturesque to the present.