Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979

May 7 - August 28, 2016

Elmhurst Art Museum presents the U.S. debut of Playboy Architecture,1953-1979, featuring an extensive collection of photographs, films, architectural models and more from Playboy magazine’s inception in 1953 through the 1970s. Curated by Professor Beatriz Colomina and Pep Aviles in collaboration with the Ph.D. program of the School of Architecture and the Media and Modernity program at Princeton University, the exhibition showcases how architecture and design played a role in creating the Playboy fantasy as well as how Playboy magazine came to influence the world of architecture and design.

Staged in the Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick House at Elmhurst Art Museum, the exhibition will feature detailed models of archetypal design projects such as the Playboy Townhouse and “Big Bunny,” the largest and most luxurious private aircraft in existence, designed for Hugh Hefner by Elmhurst resident Daniel Czubak. The exhibition is divided into sections devoted to themes explored in the magazine’s articles and images such as Playboy pads (including bedrooms and closets), cities, vehicles, music and the art of seduction. An archive of Playboy magazine issues from the period is also included.

Unique to this U.S. presentation, never-before- exhibited memorabilia from the personal collection of 1976 Playboy Bunny of the Year, Chicagoan Candace Jordan will be part of the exhibition, including her Bunny of the Year full costume, the pageant program and her trophy.


Elmhurst Art Museum’s presentation of Playboy Architecture 1953-1979 was designed by Amunátegui Valdés Architects (Santiago, Chile). The exhibition was previously displayed in the Netherlands at Bureau Europa (Maastricht) in 2012. The U.S. debut of Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979 is made possible by Gigi and James Owens.


A robust roster of public programs will be presented over the summer, including talks by the exhibition’s curator Beatriz Colomina (Princeton), author of Domesticity at War and Manifesto Architecture: The Ghost of Mies; Professor Elizabeth Fraterrigo (Loyola), author of Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in America; and Candace Jordan, Chicago Tribune columnist and 1976 Playboy Bunny of the Year, among others.


Beatriz Colomina is professor of architecture and founding director of the program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University. She has written extensively on questions of architecture, art, sexuality and media. Her books include Manifesto Architecture: The Ghost of Mies (Sternberg, 2014); Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197X (Actar, 2010); Domesticity at War (MIT Press, 2007);Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media (MIT Press, 1994); and Sexuality and Space (Princeton Architectural Press, 1992). Colomina has curated a series of exhibitions in Venice, Kassel, London, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Santiago de Chile, Bogota, Vancouver, Oslo, Lisbon, New York, Murcia, Montreal, Warsaw, Rotterdam, Maastricht and Vienna. She will co-curate, with Mark Wigley, the 2016 Istanbul Design Biennial.