Assistant Professor of Architectural History Matthew Gin is a historian of 18th-century European architecture and visual culture. Of particular focus in his scholarship are actors, objects, and forms of expertise that sat on the edges of architectural practice in the early modern period. His current book project, Paper Monuments: The Politics of Ephemeral Festival Architecture in Enlightenment France, is an expanded material and cultural history of temporary pageant decorations from the 17th century to the French Revolution.
Gin’s research has received awards from the Society for Court Studies and the Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture. Most recently, he was named an inaugural IDEAS Research Fellow at the Society of Architectural Historians. Forthcoming publications will appear in Renaissance Quarterly, The Court Historian, and the edited volume Material Cultures of the Global 18th Century: Art, Mobility and Change (Bloomsbury Academic).
Gin holds a PhD in Architectural History from Harvard University, an MED in Architectural History from Yale University, and a BA in Art History and BM in Baroque Flute from Oberlin College. Previously he worked at the Museum of Modern Art and the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.
EXPLORE HIS RECENT WORK
Matthew Gin has been named an inaugural IDEAS Research Fellow at the Society of Architectural Historians. The fellowship supports research that challenges existing paradigms and represents previously under-recognized and/or unsupported directions for architectural history as researched, thought, or applied. During the fellowship, Gin will conduct research on the invisbilized artists, artisans, and laborers who worked to design and fabricate temporary decorations for royal festivals in early modern France.
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Matthew Gin’s current book project Paper Monuments: The Politics of Ephemeral Festival Architecture in Enlightenment France is an expanded material and cultural history of temporary pageant decorations from the 17th century to the French Revolution. Challenging a narrow view of festival architecture that emphasizes iconography and dazzling visual effects, the book links pageant decorations to a larger constellation of shifts in the Enlightenment that includes the advent of modular construction technologies, emerging debates about the bounds of architectural practice, and the rise of France’s global empire.
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The edited volume, Material Cultures of the Global Eighteenth Century: Art, Mobility, and Change will include a chapter by Matthew Gin. Based on previously unknown archival material, Gin reconstructs the technical and administrative systems that facilitated the reuse of temporary festival decorations in eighteenth-century Paris. With a particular focus on the processes implemented for handling timber, the essay enriches the current discourse on sustainability by offering a pre-history of modern recycling practices.
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