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There's a Perfectly Preserved Michael Graves Apartment Hiding in Brooklyn

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[Images courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum. Michael Graves (American, 1934-2015). Library and Child's Bedroom from the Reinhold Apartment at 101 Central Park West, New York, New York, 1979-1981. Decorative Arts. Gift of John, Susan, and Berkeley A. Reinhold, 86.179.]

Somewhere in the archives of the Brooklyn Museum sits a series of rooms designed by late postmodernist architect Michael Graves for Susan and John Reinhold's apartment at 101 Central Park West. The Reinholds, fixtures in the late 20th century New York City art scene who counted Andy Warhol amongst their friends, commissioned Graves from 1979 through 1981 to design a library and children's bedroom and playroom for their Upper West Side apartment. The rooms, preserved in situ in the archives, have never been put on display by the museum, and largely exist without the awareness of the public.

The Reinholds had a knack for tapping rising stars in the architecture world; Timothy Rohan, in a piece for Docomomo (h/t A/N), explains that prior to Graves's partial renovation, the Reinholds commissioned Robert A.M. Stern in 1971 to transform their upper-level duplex. The remodels came at a time when the West Side was on the rebound, and apartments that had been partitioned off in decades past were being recombined. Stern, along with John Hagmann, reconfigured the Reinhold apartment by removing decorative elements and opening the space up to create flowing living quarters.

Rohan writes,

Graves set out to memorialize postmodernism as it was at the time—and by extension, Stern's later more classical work—by rendering the new library in the shape of a basilica. The two sides are comprised of bookcases—the entire renovation was done with cheap materials like plywood and sheetrock, something Rohan says was characteristic of the period's "interior experimentation." At the head where the alter might have stood, Graves hung a mural of his own design. The bedroom and playroom took the same muted palette as the library. When asked about the room, the Reinholds' daughter Berkeley said it was the "best in the house," but griped that its shelves were not big enough to hold her books and records.

The Reinholds donated the rooms to the Brooklyn Museum following their divorce in 1986. They remain some of the only surviving postmodernist Manhattan apartment interiors. Rohan notes, "The city's creative destruction is relentless."


· Postmodernism Preserved: Michael Graves' Reinhold Apartment [Docomomo]
· There's a Michael Graves-Designed Apartment Hidden In the Brooklyn Museum [A/N]
· A Michael Graves-Designed Apartment From 1979 Is Sitting in Storage at the Brooklyn Museum [Curbed Flipped]
· All Michael Graves coverage [Curbed.com]