Documenta: The Paolo Soleri Retrospective

Documenta: the Paolo Solari retrospective, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1970 exhibition catalog. Box open with select scrolls.
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Preserve for the Future

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. Soleri 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 that are the exhibition catalog for "Documenta; the Paolo Soleri retrospective". 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 acidic box.

Discover more about this book in our Catalog.