Aaron Betsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Aaron Betsky (born 1958) is a critic, curator, educator, lecturer, and writer of texts about architecture and design. He is the former director of the Cincinnati Art Museum and the current dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Early life[edit]

Betsky was born in Missoula, Montana, United States, but grew up in The Netherlands.[1] He graduated from Yale University in 1979 with a B.A. in History, the Arts and Letters (1979) and received his Masters of Architecture from Yale in 1983.[2]


From 2001 to 2006 Betsky served as director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam, Netherlands.[3] He taught at Cal Poly Pomona[4] and the University of Cincinnati from 1983 to 1985 and worked as a designer for Frank Gehry and Hodgetts & Fung. From 1995 to 2001 Betsky was Curator of Architecture, Design and Digital Projects at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art before moving back to The Netherlands.

From August 2006 to January 2014, was the director of the Cincinnati Art Museum.[5] In 2008, he was named as the director of the 11th Exhibition of the Venice Biennale of Architecture.[6]

In January, 2015, Betsky was appointed the new dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, which consists of Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin.[7]


Betsky has written numerous monographs on the work of late 20th century architects, including I.M. Pei, UN Studio, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc., Zaha Hadid and MVRDV, as well as treatises on aesthetics, psychology and human sexuality as they pertain to aspects of architecture, and is one of the main contributors to a spatial interpretation of Queer theory.


Some of Betsky's opinions have been the subject of extensive critique as being "out of touch."[8] He has been particularly critical of sustainable design.[9] The Huffington Post has called him elitist[10] and "arrogant",[11] while Forbes magazine describes him as "an architectural priest and patrician ... a voice of the high-status quo... No wonder architects have an image problem."[12]


  • A. Betsky (2011) At Home in Sprawl: Selected Essays on Architecture, RMIT University Press.
  • A. Betsky, A. Eeuwens (2004) False Flat: Why Dutch design is so good, Phaidon Press Inc.
  • W. Maas, A. Betsky, S. Kwinter, B. Lootsma, A. Ruby (2003) Reading MVRDV, Nai Publishers
  • A. Betsky, K. M. Hays, G. M. Anderson (2003) Scanning: The Aberrant Architectures of Diller + Scofidio, Whitney Museum of American Art
  • A. Betsky (2002) Landscrapers: building with the land, Thames and Hudson
  • B. van Berkel, A. Betsky, C. Bos, M. Wigley (2002) UN Studio: UNFOLD, Nai Publishers
  • A. Betsky, E. Adigard (2000) Architecture Must Burn: a manifesto for an architecture beyond building, Thames and Hudson
  • R. Moore, J. Herzog, A. Betsky, P. Davies (1999) Vertigo: The Strange New World of the Contemporary City, Gingko Press
  • A. Betsky, O. R. Ojeda (1999) Miller Hull Partnership, Rockport Publishers
  • T. González de León, A. Betsky, A. Leon (1998) Kalach & Alvarez, Rockport Publishers
  • A. Betsky, A. Suzuki, D. Jackson, P. Zellner (1998) Pacific Edge: Contemporary Architecture on the Pacific Rim, Rizzoli
  • T. Riley, A. Betsky, X. Costa, M. Robbins (1998) Fabrications, Actar
  • A. Betsky (1998) Zaha Hadid: Das Gesamtwerk, DVA
  • Z. M. Hadid, A. Betsky (1998) Zaha Hadid: The Complete Buildings and Projects, Rizzoli
  • A. Betsky (1997) Queer space : architecture and same-sex desire, William Morrow
  • A. Jarmusch, A. Betsky, R. W. Quigley, M. S. Larson, M. Benedikt, M. Les Benedict (1996) Rob Wellington Quigley: Buildings and Projects, Rizzoli
  • A. Betsky (1995) Building sex : men, women, architecture, and the construction of sexuality, William Morrow
  • A. Betsky (1994) James Gamble Rogers and the Architecture of Pragmatism
  • A. Betsky (1992) Architecture & medicine : I.M. Pei designs the Kirklin Clinic, University Press of America
  • A. Betsky, J. Chase, L. Whiteson (1991) Experimental Architecture in Los Angeles, Rizzoli
  • A. Betsky (1990) Violated perfection : Architecture and the Fragmentation of the Modern, Rizzoli


  1. ^ Hong, Catherine. "Through the Roof-Aaron Betsky, curator of this year's Venice architecture biennale, dares to look beyond buildings.". W Magazine. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "Aaron Betsky". Syracuse University School of Architecture. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Hong, Catherine. "Through the Roof-Aaron Betsky, curator of this year's Venice architecture biennale, dares to look beyond buildings.". W Magazine. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "Critical Architecture and Contemporary Culture" by William J. Lillyman, Marilyn F. Moriarty, David J. Neuman
  5. ^ Boucher, Brian. "Aaron Betsky Resigns from Directorship of Cincinnati Art Museum". Art in America. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "Out There: Architecture Beyond Building". la Biennale di Venezia. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  7. ^ Vogel, Carol. "Aaron Betsky Appointed New Dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture". ArchDaily. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  8. ^ Simes, Andy. "Are Aaron Betsky and his architecture contemporaries ‘out of touch’ with society?". UrbanCincy. Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  9. ^ Betsky, Aaron. "Green Architecture". Architect. Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  10. ^ Hosey, Lance. "Architecture's Great Divide". Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  11. ^ Hosey, Lance. "The Failures of Architecture Criticism". Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  12. ^ Shubow, Justin. "Architecture Continues To Implode: More Insiders Admit The Profession Is Failing". Forbes. Retrieved 25 May 2017. 

External links[edit]