A new exhibition focuses on ten photographs by architect, urbanist, theoretician, and educator Denise Scott Brown. Taken between 1956 and 1966, these images reveal Scott Brown’s formative explorations into urban systems, Pop Art, and the complexity of the American vernacular — interests that she and partner Robert Venturi would later develop in the pivotal Learning from Las Vegas. The photographs offer a glimpse into the social transformations of the 1960s as seen through the wayward eye of one of architecture’s most in uential practitioners.
Shot in a time when both photography and architecture remained pioneering terrain for women, Scott Brown’s photographs demonstrate her keen perception and curiosity. Her images have a spontaneous, quotidian quality, and she approaches her subjects not as a professional photographer but as an interdisciplinary architect. These are environments of seemingly chaotic information, systems alive with complexity and concealed hierarchies; where vast space clashes with dense activity.
Scott Brown’s photography is more than a means of documenting buildings — it is a tool for observation and analysis, an exploration of culture, aesthetics, history, and society. Through photography, Scott Brown traces continuities from the geometric vistas of Tintoretto’s Venice to the neon modernism of the Vegas Strip. For today’s architects, artists, and social scientists, these images provide models for design research and visual thinking.
Now 86, Scott Brown revisits these spaces of her past — from Venice, Italy to Venice Beach, California. She re ects on her early photography through intimate commentaries that accompany each image in the exhibition.