1st Edition

American Artists Engage the Built Environment, 1960-1979

By Susanneh Bieber Copyright 2023
    270 Pages 38 Color & 48 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    270 Pages 38 Color & 48 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume reframes the development of US-American avant-garde art of the long 1960s—from minimal and pop art to land art, conceptual art, site-specific practices, and feminist art—in the context of contemporary architectural discourses.

    Susanneh Bieber analyzes the work of seven major artists, Donald Judd, Robert Grosvenor, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Smithson, Lawrence Weiner, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Mary Miss, who were closely associated with the formal-aesthetic innovations of the period. While these individual artists came to represent diverse movements, Bieber argues that all of them were attracted to the field of architecture—the work of architects, engineers, preservationists, landscape designers, and urban planners—because they believed these practices more directly shaped the social and material spaces of everyday life. This book’s contribution to the field of art history is thus twofold. First, it shows that the avant-garde of the long 1960s did not simply develop according to an internal logic of art but also as part of broader sociocultural discourses about buildings and cities. Second, it exemplifies a methodological synthesis between social art history and poststructural formalism that is foundational to understanding the role of art in the construction of a more just and egalitarian society.

    The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, architecture, urbanism, and environmental humanism.

    List of Figures

    List of Permissions


    1. Introduction: Perimeters/Pavilions/Decoys: Mary Miss
    2. Constructing A Better World: From the Bauhaus to Postwar America
    3. Twentieth Century Engineering: Donald Judd and Robert Grosvenor
    4. Monuments, Landmarks, and Ruins: Claes Oldenburg and Robert Smithson
    5. Idea as Model: Lawrence Weiner and Gordon Matta-Clark





    Susanneh Bieber is Assistant Professor in the School of Performance, Visualization & Fine Arts and the School of Architecture at Texas A&M University.

    "Rigorously researched and highly readable, this excellent book uncovers the many fascinating sides of American art’s obsession with architecture in the 1960s and 1970s. Bieber reveals the dreams of the period while also asking how this art looks now, from the vantage of a new generation’s effort to make a better future."

    --Joshua Shannon, University of Maryland


    "Susanneh Bieber’s book rigorously examines the intersection of art, architecture, and urban planning. She demonstrates the many creative ways with which artists engaged zoning laws and historic preservation, and reimagined architectural plans and construction sites."

    --Cécile Whiting, University of California, Irvine


    "Bieber’s book is outstanding in demonstrating the relevance of architecture to art, and in convincingly organizing artistic and architectural pairings. Just as remarkable is her complication of canonical artists and established perspectives through socio-politics. She rethinks projects and legacies with perspicacity and sensitivity."

    --Katherine Smith, author of The Accidental Possibilities of the City