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Little Boxes: Vernacular

Architecture from the Collection

Little Boxes: Vernacular Architecture from the Collection explores the ways in which people, environment, and necessity shape the spaces in which we live. By definition, 'vernacular' is native to, or characteristic of, a certain location. Vernacular architecture, then, is a building style based on local needs, materials, and traditions. It is strongly associated with time and place, and it serves function over aesthetics. Above all, vernacular architecture is purposeful.

The term vernacular architecture was first used in 1964 by architect and scholar Bernard Rudofsky in an exhibit he organized for the Museum of Modern Art, New York, titled Architecture Without Architects. This title alludes to the fact that vernacular architecture is not typically designed by professionals, and is outside of the standard canon of architectural achievement.

Little Boxes focuses on vernacular architecture as exemplified by residential buildings, and explores dwellings in various iterations from Victorian mansions to a secluded cabin in the woods. Ranging from photographs to oil paintings to a miniature doll house, this exhibition presents a series of dwellings that only humans could have created.  Featured artists include Ansel Adams, Norman Rockwell, and Yinka Shonibare. From densely populated suburban landscapes to scenes of rural isolation, the show captures the extremes of vernacular architecture.

Little Boxes: Vernacular Architecture from the Collection is organized by Karly Etz, Luna Goldberg, Eli Heller, and Laura Hildebrandt, with assistance from members of the Education and Curatorial Departments at the Norton Museum of Art.

The Norton Museum of Art (West Palm Beach, FL)

August 1 - October 17, 2013

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