The civil rights, women’s, and LGBTQ movements have impacted every facet of US society, including architecture and design. Now What?! Advocacy, Activism & Alliances in American Architecture since 1968 links the US design community to larger social and political movements of the late 20th century, placing design practice in the foreground and engaging viewers in critical conversations of history, progress, and the built environment. Now What?! acknowledges a wide coalition of organizations and professionals’ national and grassroots efforts to change the face of architecture and design in the US.
In recent years, there has been a new wave of initiatives and advocacy emerging in the US that draw attention to these critical issues. This exhibition writes the overlooked histories of activist architects and organizations who were—and still are—at the forefront of the profession’s participation in larger social and political movements over the last fifty years, and suggests ways forward. This intersectional and interdisciplinary look at the design professions draws historical connections and serves as the only comprehensive narrative of activism in US architecture and design that spans these generations and disparate causes. Now What?! examines diversity and activism in the design professions since 1968 while crafting a space for public debate and dialogue that projects forward as much as it looks back.