Unfaithful Architecture: Reproducing Shaker Retiring Rooms in the American Wing
This thesis takes the “Shaker Retiring Room,” a period room in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s American Wing, as a unique case study to examine the reproduction of architecture. Period rooms, like other visual technologies, do not transparently deliver meaning to a viewer. Unlike other representations, however, the period room is also a work of architecture produced by many laboring hands and the contingencies of the building industry. Through a detailed analysis of the American Wing’s files, I find that this period room cannot be traced back to a single author, meaning, or belief. I argue that this plurality constitutes a fundamental challenge to the notion that architecture reflects the social conditions of its production. What if architecture does not reflect, but transgresses the conditions that produced it? What if architecture were unfaithful to its origins? This thesis poses and demonstrates the relevance of this question for architectural historiography.
Labor; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Period Room; Representation; Shakers; Museum studies; American history; architecture
Lasansky, Diana MedinaWoods, Mary Norman
History of Arch & Urban Devel
MA of History of Arch & Urban Devel
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis