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review: art & architecture

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review: art & architecture

'How do you make a building for contemporary art that stays contemporary in the future without stooping to a neutral language? And how do you attract a big public without compromising the selfish, private, exclusive time we all want to have in a museum?'asks Elizabeth Diller in Scanning: The Aberrant Architectures of Diller + Scofidio (Abrams, £30).

She is referring to the proposed Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (pictured), which, like the Eyebeam Museum of Art & Technology in New York, is a major cultural project by Diller + Scofidio that may very well be built. Not that either looks to be especially 'aberrant'.

Besides an apartment block in Japan and the acclaimed Blur Building - a fog-shrouded pavilion on Lake Neuchâtel for Swiss EXPO 2002 - Diller and her partner Ricardo Scofidio have spent the last two decades not building but making gallery exhibits, stage sets, temporary public artworks, etc. It is these, with their equivocal take on technology (both critical and fetishistic), that dominate the book, just as they did the exhibition it accompanied at New York's Whitney Museum earlier this year.

That show - expertly installed and paced - was glamorous, intelligent, precious and portentous by turns; and the book is much the same. Laurie Anderson conducts the included interview with the couple, not very searchingly it must be said, while the essayists (Aaron Betsky, K Michael Hays, et al) certainly take them as seriously as they take themselves.

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