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Saturday, October 28 • 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Vegas: Architecture, Urbanism and the American Dream

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Note:  This takes on different meaning after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. We dedicate this session to those who lost their lives and to the hope of an end to the madness of gun violence. 

What happens in Vegas does not, as it turns out, stay in Vegas. The capital of kitsch and glitz has influenced American culture and values in many ways, perhaps most spectacularly in the election of a real estate developer as president, but also notably in relation to architecture and urbanism. In The Strip, Stefan Al, associate professor of urban design at the University of Pennsylvania, argues that Las Vegas’s many metamorphoses—from faux Western saloons and giant neon signs to Disney-like theme parks and today’s fancy casinos built by famous architects—mirror transformations in American society at large. The seminal book on architecture in Vegas, Learning from Las Vegas, published in 1972, was a treatise on symbolism in architecture and is available again in a revised version from MIT Press. That work is the subject of Aron Vinegar’s I Am a Monument. Vinegar, assistant professor in the Department of History of Art at Ohio State, takes a deep look into that iconic and controversial text to investigate its meaning today. Robert Wiesenberger, critic at the Yale School of Art, is the coauthor of Muriel Cooper, about the pioneering graphic designer of the MIT Press colophon and the first woman to receive tenure at the MIT Media Lab. Cooper’s design of Learning from Las Vegas was nearly as controversial as the text itself. This fascinating discussion about the meaning of  Las Vegas in the American landscape will be moderated by Lauren Jacobi, Class of 1942 Career Development Assistant Professor of Architectural History in the History, Theory + Criticism section of the Department of Architecture, MIT.

Moderators
avatar for Lauren Jacobi

Lauren Jacobi

Lauren Jacobi is a scholar and educator whose research focuses on history of late medieval through pre-industrial Italian architecture and urbanism of the Mediterranean during that period. In 2015, she was the winner of the National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Rome Prize in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies for her project... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Stefan Al

Stefan Al

Stefan Al is a renowned architect and urban designer, as well as an expert and educator in urbanization and high-density cities. Among his many projects are his redesign of Opera Square in Cairo, Egypt, his design of the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China, and his design of Art Square in Hong Kong, China. A native of the Netherlands, Al holds degrees from the Barcelona School of Architecture, the Delft University of Technology, University College London, and the University of California, Berkeley. From... Read More →
avatar for Aron Vinegar

Aron Vinegar

Aron Vinegar is a scholar and author whose areas of expertise and study are the history and philosophy of art, architecture, and design, as well as photography. Vinegar holds a BA and an MA in art history from McGill University, and a PhD in art history from Northwestern University. Vinegar held several postdoctoral fellowships at McGill University and has taught at Ohio State University, the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, and the University of Houston. Currently, he is a professor in the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art, and Ideas at the University of Oslo, Norway. He coedited Heidegger and the Work of Art History (2014) and wrote Relearning from Las Vegas (2009). His most celebrated work, however, is I Am a Monument (2008), which rereads and reinterprets the now-classic 1972 text Learning from Las Vegas. Simon Sadler of the University of California, Davis called the book... Read More →
avatar for Robert Wiesenberger

Robert Wiesenberger

Robert Wiesenberger is in many ways a student of modern art, architecture, and design; all of his work, from his doctoral research and beyond, allows him to delve deeper into the history and the future of these art forms. He holds a BA in history and Germanic studies from the University of Chicago. He served as the... Read More →


Saturday October 28, 2017 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Old South Mary Norton Hall 645 Boylston Street, Boston, MA