Complete Lot Details
Soviet Pavilion at the World's Fair, Paris, 1937.
Palace of the Soviets, Moscow, 1931-1936.
Larkin Company Administration Building, Buffalo, New York, 1903.
Newton's Cenotaph, France, 1784.
Crystal Palace, France, 1784.
Trylon & Perisphere, World's Fair, New York, 1937-1939.
The Lenin Tribute, Russia, 1920-1924.
Chicago Tribune Column, Chicago, 1922.
Ziggurat, Ur, Mesopotamia, 2100 BC.
Singer Tower, New York, 1908.
Excerpt from Keepsakes: A Design Memoir by Constantin Boym, 2015
Missing Monuments are the miniatures of the famous buildings that do not exist. They may have been destroyed, or have never even been built, like visionary architecture that leaves a profound influence on culture of its time. When a souvenir’s referent does not exist, a miniature replica assumes a different meaning. The object becomes an indispensable thing, the only material manifestation of a grand building project.
The great monuments, when reduced to toy size, provide an irresistible appeal of lay things without losing the power of their architectural essence.
An entire alternative history of architecture could be seen through the prism of this collection: from the ruined seven World’s Wonders, to utopian projects of the Russian avant-garde, to lost pavilions of the international fairs. My love of architectural history found its outlet in the process of researching and selecting potential candidates for the miniatures.
The idea of the miniature, like that of the map, allows for a space of imagination. Curator Larry Abramson writes how experience of the model has “an enchanted dimension that is both entertaining and magical”. The great monuments, when reduced to toy size, provide an irresistible appeal of lay things without losing the power of their architectural essence. Collecting the miniatures becomes something that combines creative act and playing; the collection gives us a chance to feel like children again, even if for a moment.
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.