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Barragán: A Spiritual Master

Photographs by Robert Duncan

Brunnier Art Museum
August 27–December 20, 2024

Luis Barragán (1902–1988) was a renowned Mexican architect and engineer known for elegant residences and aesthetic gardens with powerful water features. Barragán’s visual vocabulary included elements such as water, timber, and stucco paired with vibrant color and texture. He received the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1980.

Barragán: A Spiritual Master focuses on the visual response through photography by artist Robert Duncan (b. 1942, American). Duncan explores the stunning beauty, refined architectural forms, and brilliant color of Barragán’s architectural masterpieces at two private residences, Cuadra San Cristóbal and Casa Gilardi, both located in Mexico City. The large-scale images created by Duncan transport the viewer into the meditative environment developed by Barragán where the natural world seamlessly intersects with the built. Capturing the visual play between light, color, and form, Duncan examines his own emotional response to the work of Barragán and his appreciation of the ephemeral in contrast to the solidity of the architecture. Working within the lineage of architectural photography, Duncan is not merely representing what he finds inspiring, but the beauty he seeks in everyday occurrences which are quickly lost to time if not captured. The architecture of Barragán is both timeless in its design, yet transient because of the endless play of light on color and form intertwined with nature. Robert Duncan has succeeded in documenting the quietude and the expressive moments of beauty he has found in the architecture of Luis Barragán, chronicling and interpreting those responses within the images seen in the exhibition.

Barragán: A Spiritual Master: Photographs by Robert Duncan is on loan from the artist.

Merrill Peterson is a collaborator on this exhibition. Anne Pagel, curator of the Karen and Robert Duncan Art Collection, and George W. Neubert, American Association of Art Museum Directors, Emeritus, graciously contributed quotes. The exhibition is accompanied with a publication and statements by Nelsa H. Farrugia, Anne Pagel, Merrill Peterson, Robert Duncan, and quotes from Luis Barragán.

Barragán: A Spiritual Master is presented at the Brunnier Art Museum with support from the University Museums Advancement Council: Claire Andreasen, Marcia Borel, Craig Claussen, Kathy Howell, Anne Kohs, Beverly and Warren Madden, Frankie and Cal Parrott, Diane and Jim Patton.

The University Museums, in partnership with ISU Extension and Outreach, Iowa State University, and Bank Iowa is touring the exhibition in 2025.

Exhibition Programs

Find full descriptions of programs on the University Museums Calendar. All programs are free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged but not required. Click the event title for more information and/or to register. Events listed below will be at the Brunnier Art Museum (1805 Center Dr., 295 Scheman Building, Ames, Iowa) unless otherwise noted. Times are in Central Standard Time (CST). Programs are subject to change. Check the University Museums Calendar and Facebook page for the latest events information.


Barragán: A Spiritual Master Exhibition Reception

Thursday, September 5, 2024; 7:00–9:00 p.m.

Location: Brunnier Art Museum, Scheman Building

Celebrate the new exhibition Barragán: A Spiritual Master at the Brunnier Art Museum. Meet the photographer, Robert Duncan, and enjoy imaginative desserts and cocktails inspired by the flavors of Mexico.



Museums After Hours: Hispanic Culture Night

September 26, 2024, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (US Central)

Location: Brunnier Art Museum, Scheman Building

Join University Museums for a celebration of Hispanic culture at the Brunnier Art Museum! Explore Latin American cities in virtual reality, practice your Spanish language skills, and eat some sweet treats from various Hispanic cultures. In conjunction with the exhibition Barragán: A Spiritual Master: Photographs by Robert Duncan on view... Read More


Document • Story • Expression

October 20, 2024, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM (US Central)

Location: Brunnier Art Museum

with Cameron Campbell, Associate Professor and Interim Chair of Architecture, Iowa State

Campbell will connect the modern masters of architectural photography with his work and the work of Mexican architect Luis Barragán.

Visit the Brunnier Art Museum

Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Closed to the public Mondays. ISU curriculum tours may be scheduled on these days with a 2-week notice.

Closed University Holidays
Click here to see when the museums are closed.

Address: Scheman Building (2nd Floor), 1805 Center Drive, Ames, Iowa
Admission: The cost is free; however, there is a suggested donation of $8.

Photo by Robert Duncan at Casa Giraldi


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