Artists Ask MoMA to Remove Philip Johnson’s Name, Citing Racist ViewsBreaking News
tags: racism, architecture, art history, Philip Johnson, modern art
Philip Johnson was one of the most influential architects of the past century, chameleonic in each of his roles as a New York power broker, art collector and creator of his “Glass House,” a celebrated landmark of modernist design in Connecticut.
He also championed racist and white supremacist viewpoints in his younger years. Johnson’s Nazi sympathies, for example, have been well documented, and he spent the years after World War II trying to distance himself from them.
Now a group of more than 30 prominent artists, architects and academics are casting a light on the more unsavory part of Johnson’s legacy, demanding in a letter published online on Nov. 27 that institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Harvard Graduate School of Design remove the name of the architect, who died in 2005, from their spaces.
“There is a role for Johnson’s architectural work in archives and historic preservation,” the Johnson Study Group, a largely anonymous group of designers and architects, wrote in the letter. “However, naming titles and spaces inevitably suggests that the honoree is a model for curators, administrators, students and others who participate in these institutions.”