Since 1919, The New School has been home to scholars, creators, and activists who challenge convention and boldly make their mark on the world.
To celebrate this groundbreaking legacy, we are opening our doors to the public for a weeklong festival of innovative performances, talks, workshops, screenings, exhibitions, and more.

On October 1–6, 2019, join us as we reflect on a century of world-changing ideas and together imagine a new kind of future.

The Festival of New is free and open to all.
Friday, October 4 • 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Joseph Urban: Designer of the Future - A lecture by Janis Staggs

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Joseph Urban (1872-1933) was one of the most significant modernist architects and designers of the early 20th century. Born in Vienna, Urban began his career as a proponent of the Secession style, an Austrian variant of the Art Nouveau. After a move to the United States in 1911, his focus shifted to theatrical design and included stints working for the Boston Opera Company, the Ziegfeld Follies, and the Metropolitan Opera Company. In 1920, Urban embarked on a new chapter when he joined William Randolph Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Productions. With this entry into the film medium, Urban’s trajectory took on a more commercial and popular culture dimension. The lavish salary he earned from Hearst enabled Urban to open a branch of the Viennese Workshops, known as the Wiener Werkstaette of America, on Fifth Avenue in 1922. Urban’s professional ambitions came full circle when, in 1925, he resumed his architectural practice.

A stream of significant projects ensued in a range of eclectic styles, including: Mar-a-Lago for Marjorie Merriweather Post in Palm Beach (1926); Hearst’s International Magazine Building on West 57th Street (1927); Ziegfeld Theater formerly on West 54th Street (1927); the Gingerbread Castle in Hamburg, NJ (1928); and The New School for Social Research at 66 West 12th Street (1930). The latter is recognized as one of the earliest examples of the International Style in the United States. Unfortunately, many of Urban’s mature architectural projects are no longer extant. Thus, the survival of The New School, even in a modified form, is cause for celebration.

This centennial lecture is held in the auditorium designed by Urban and presented by Parsons alumna Janis Staggs, Director of Curatorial and Manager of Publications at Neue Galerie New York. Staggs draws upon years of professional experience and in-depth research conducted at archives in New York and in Vienna to provide a portrait of Urban’s seminal contributions with a focus on his last major architectural project, The New School for Social Research building.

After the lecture, Janis Staggs will respond to questions from the audience.

avatar for Inessa Medzhibovskaya

Inessa Medzhibovskaya

Associate Professor of Liberal Studies And Literary Studies, Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts
Inessa Medzhibovskaya holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College and Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research. With training in philology, intellectual history, Germanic, and Slavic Studies, and international education, she... Read More →

avatar for Janis Staggs

Janis Staggs

Director of Curatorial, Manager of Publications, Neue Galerie New York, MA History of Decorative Arts and Design '98
Janis Staggs is director of curatorial and manager of publications at Neue Galerie New York, and has been with the museum since 2000. She has curated a number of exhibitions during her tenure, including Wiener Werkstätte Jewelry (2008), Gustav Klimt and Adele Bloch-Bauer: The Woman... Read More →

Friday October 4, 2019 12:30pm - 1:30pm EDT
The Auditorium - A106