Documenta; The Paolo Soleri Retrospective

Documenta: the Paolo Solari retrospective, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1970 exhibition catalog. Box open with select scrolls.
Adoption Amount: $850
Category: Preserve for the Future
Location: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library

Documenta; the Paolo Soleri retrospective / Commentary and graphics by Donald Wall

By Donald Wall. Washington: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1970.

This mysterious 10”x10”x11” cardboard box and its contents, designed for Documenta: The Paolo Soleri Retrospective held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1970, re-envisioned the concept of an exhibition catalog. Paolo Soleri (1919-2013) was an Italian architect who studied in the United States under Frank Lloyd Wright. He developed a theory of “Arcology” which proposed a fusion between architecture and ecology. Look closely at the exterior of Documenta and you will see a collage of text sampling Solari’s manifesto. Inside you will find 16 paper scrolls of blue-gray sketches imagining utopian high-density eco-cities which would minimize humans’ impact on the earth. Although these projects were never built, they provide understanding of how scientists and artists were reacting in the early 1970s to a growing awareness of the Earth’s finite resources. The Hirshhorn copy is missing the original booklet, but needs treatment to preserve the stunning scrolls and original box.

Condition and Treatment: 

This item is a 26cm square cardboard box housing 16 rolls. The box is acidic and the material covering it is abraded and detaching at the edges.  Conservators will repair the detaching paper and create a custom enclosure to prevent future abrasion to the object. The individual rolls will be placed in individual enclosures so there is a barrier between them and the box.

Discover more about this book in our Catalog.