This lot is comprised of five works from the Buildings of Disaster series and seventeen Missing Monuments. The Buildings of Disaster are miniature replicas of famous structures where some tragic or terrible event has happened while the Missing Monuments are miniature replicas of famous buildings that do not exist, be it because they were destroyed or never even built in the first place.
Disaster Changes Everything
Of their Buildings of Disaster edition, Constantin Boym writes: “Some of these buildings may have been prized architectural landmarks, other – nondescript anonymous structures. But disaster changes everything. The images of exploded buildings make a different, populist history of architecture, one based on people’s emotional involvement rather than on scholarly appreciation.” Boym Partners first conceived of the idea in 1997 as Souvenirs for the End of the Century. The first edition was released in 1998 and it was controversial yet well received. When the Twin towers fell on September 11th of 2001, the Boym Partners re-released their World Trade Center miniature as a fundraiser and then they later added The September 11th Memorial Set featuring the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
Some of these buildings may have been prized architectural landmarks, other – nondescript anonymous structures. But disaster changes everything. The images of exploded buildings make a different, populist history of architecture, one based on people’s emotional involvement rather than on scholarly appreciation. —Constanin Boym
Production of the first Building of Disasters edition had ended at the century’s close but the events of September 11th prompted the Boym’s to add to their collection with miniatures memorializing other tragedies both recent and past such as Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq War and Waco, Texas. In total, the Building of Disaster editions included twenty-five different disasters from all over the world.
Today, the Buildings of Disaster editions are no longer in production and the provocative miniatures can be found in numerous museum collections including the San Francisco of Modern Art, The Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts in Lausanne.
I have been trying to prove that these are objects of design, not art. Of course, the function of souvenir objects is “fuzzy”: they fulfill a need that is elusive and immaterial.