Iwan Baab – From Las Vegas to Rome

01.06.2024 – 06.07.2024

In the history of architecture, the cities of Rome and Las Vegas contrast radically with each other: while Rome, the former capital of the Roman Empire, is regarded as ancient, elegant and complex, Las Vegas, the “Sin City”, is perceived as shrill, vulgar and artificial. Yet both cities are historically and contemporarily located at the intersection of power and games.
Denise Scott Brown, Robert Venturi and Steven Izenour revolutionised architectural theory with their book “Learning from Las Vegas” by declaring that the lessons the American desert city had to offer were equal to those of the Eternal City: “Las Vegas is to the Strip what Rome is to the piazza”. Fifty years after the appearance of this groundbreaking publication, the exhibition “From Las Vegas to Rome” examines the dialogue between these cities. Iwan Baan’s photographs reveal unexpected similarities and connections between the two cities. Baan’s photographs of Las Vegas and Rome force us to ask whether we can look at architecture without moral judgement – a perspective Venturi suggested for Las Vegas – in the ecological and social contexts of the twenty-first century. Baan’s photographs contrast and subvert conventional notions of authenticity and artificiality, ultimately challenging such polar categorisations. In this way, the photographs discuss Scott Brown’s, Venturi’s and Izenour’s plea to first look, understand and only then judge.
Iwan Baan is an architectural and documentary photographer. His work has been published in exhibitions, books and regularly in architecture magazines and newspapers, including Domus, a+u, The New Yorker and The New York Times. Baan’s clients include renowned architecture firms such as SANAA, Rem Koolhaas/OMA, Herzog & de Meuron, Toyo Ito, Steven Holl and Zaha Hadid. In his work, he focuses on the connections between architecture and its surroundings and shows the built environment not in isolation, but as a context for actions and stories.
The new book from Lars Müller Publishers will be presented at the opening of the exhibition:
Iwan Baan, ROME – LAS VEGAS, Bread and Circuses
With contributions by Lindsay Harris, Izzy Kornblatt, Ryan Scavnicky

@ Iwan Baan

Architekturgalerie München e.V.

Blumenstr. 22 im Bunker
80331 München

Tel. +49. 179. 51 68 555


Opening hours

Thu–Fri 4–8 pm
Sat 1–6 pm

not accessible