About This Artwork

Stanley Tigerman
American, born 1930

The Titanic, 1978

Photomontage on paper
Approx. 28 x 35.7 cm (11 x 14 in.)

Gift of Stanley Tigerman, 1984.802

© 1978 Stanley Tigerman

The groundbreaking innovations of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe left a lasting impact on both the practice and teaching of architecture in the United States, especially in Chicago. As director of the School of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Mies stressed the importance of bold, clean designs based on structure, materials, and function. Stanley Tigerman was among the many architects schooled in the Miesian tradition, and he based much of his work in the 1960s and 1970s on the designs of the famed architect. Tigerman’s restless curiosity and iconoclastic spirit, however, led him to question the authority and durability of Mies’s program. The Titanic is a conceptual project that was meant to provoke architects to contend with the Mies legacy, challenging them to choose sides: move beyond Mies or remain cemented to the past. The photocollage pitches Mies’s Crown Hall (1950–56), one of the architect’s most iconic and revered designs, into the deep. Tigerman mailed copies of the work to members of the architectural establishment, including an offer of a one-way ticket on the Titanic. Although the title of the work portends the end of Mies’s dominance, Tigerman acknowledged that many would see the building as rising back to the surface, ever triumphant.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Art Institute of Chicago, "Past Forward: Architecture and Design Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago," Gallery 285, September 12, 2017–January 22,2018.

Graham Foundation, "Ceci n'est pas une reverie: The Architecture of Stanley Tigerman," January 26, 2012–May 19, 2012,

Art Institute of Chicago, "Selections from the Architecture and Design Collection," Galleries 283–286, May 16, 2009–January 2010.

Art Institute of Chicago, Masterpieces of Chicago Architecture, Apr. 2004–Sept. 2005, Gallery 24.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, At the End of the Century: 100 Years of Architecture, Dec. 18 1999–Mar. 12, 2000. [SO D 1098 (11/18/1999)]

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Architecture and Design, 1872-1922: Birth of a Metropolis, cat. no. 53; traveled to Paris, Musée d'Orsay, Oct. 2, 1987–Jan. 4, 1988; Frankfurt am Main, Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Feb. 5-Apr. 25, 1988; and Art Institute of Chicago, July 16–Sept. 5, 1988. cat. no. 343.

Publication History

Tigerman, Stanley. 1982. Versus: An American Architect's Alternatives. New York: Rizzoli, p. 27.

Zukowsky, John (ed.). 1993. Chicago Architecture and Design, 1923–1993: Reconfiguration of an American Metropolis. Exh. cat. Art Institute of Chicago/Prestel, cat. no. 343, p. 25.

Zukowsky, John, and Martha Thorne. 2004. Masterpieces of Chicago Architecture. Art Institute of Chicago/Rizzoli, pp. 144–45.

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