[Tim Benton]


Profession: Architectural Historian

Date of Birth: 21 June 1945
Place of Birth: Rome, Italy

Interviewer: Dr Harriet Atkinson
Location: Open University campus, Milton Keynes

Tim Benton is Professor of Art History at the Open University, and has served as Visiting Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, New York (2007), and at the Bard Graduate Center (2003). He will be the Clark Visiting Professor at Williams College in Spring, 2009. In the 1970s, Professor Benton, along with his colleagues at the Open University including Charlotte Benton, developed the first curriculum for design history as part of the Open University course ‘History of Architecture and Design 1890-1939’. The course book Form and Function: source book (1975) edited by Tim and Charlotte Benton became one of the key resources for emerging design historians, as did the accompanying television documentaries. He is a noted scholar of the works of Le Corbusier. He is a member of Comité scientifique pour l’édition des Écrits de Le Corbusier, and was elected to the Conseil d’aministration of the Fondation Le Corbusier in 2008. Professor Benton has acted as associate curator in several major exhibitions including Art and Power (Hayward Gallery,1995), Art Deco 1910-1939 (V&A, 2003), Modernism Designing a New World 1918-1939 (V&A, 2006). He has recently published Le Corbusier conférencier, Le Moniteur, Paris, and a new edition of his book The Villas of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret 1920-1930, Birkhauser, Basel. He is currently working on a life of Le Corbusier for Reaktion Books, London.

16 June 2008
[Benton Track 1] with audio extract about reading History at Cambridge followed by an MA at the Courtauld Institute in the late 1960s, and early teaching posts.
[Benton Track 2] with audio extracts about joining the Open University in 1970, and being part of the History Workshop art and culture branch with Raphael Samuel.
[Benton Track 3] with audio extract about the early days of design history, and about the innovations of the Open University’s radio/vision programmes.
[Benton Track 4]
[Benton Track 5] with complete audio track about TB’s research methods, lecturing, and on exhibitions as a medium.
[Benton Track 6] with audio extract reflecting on disciplinary boundaries, key texts in design history, and shifts in the subject area.

End of recording

See also Open University
Publications and Exhibitions
(1980) Associate curator, Thirties: Art and Design before the War, Arts Council, Hayward Gallery, London, October 1979 - January.

(1987) Associate curator. Le Corbusier Architect of the Century, Arts Council, Hayward Gallery, London, March-June.

(1987) Associate curator. Le Corbusier et la Méditeranéité, Musée de la Vieille Charité, Marseilles, juin-septembre.

(1995/6) Associate curator. Art and Power. A Council of Europe exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, Octobre 1995; Barcelona, Feb. 1996; Berlin, June 1996.

(2003). Associate Curator. Art Deco 1910-1939, London, V&A; touring Toronto, San Francisco and Boston, London: V&A (and touring).

(2006) Associate Curator. Modernism: Designing a new World 1918-1939, London, V&A.

Selected Publications
Benton, T. (forthcoming 2008). Le Corbusier (a life), London: Reaktion Books.

Benton, T. (2008). Ten chapter introductions in Le Corbusier the Great, Oxford: Phaidon Press.

Benton, T. (2007). Le Corbusier conférencier, Editions Le Moniteur : Paris. (English edition to be published 2009).

Benton, T. (2007). The Villas of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, 1920-1930, Birkhauser, Basel. (French edition Editions La Villette, Paris, 2007), revised edition of book first published in Paris by Philippe Sers, 1984 and Yale University Press, 1987.

Benton, T. (2006). ‘Building Utopia’ and ‘Modernism and Nature’ (and catalogue entries) in Modernism Designing a new World, London: V&A Publications, pp.149-224 et 311-340.

Benton, T. (2006). ‘Representing Modernism’, in Imagined Interiors, (Publication of the AHRC funded research group the Centre for the Study of the Design of the Interior), London: V&A Publications, pp. 220-239.

Benton, T. (2006). The Modernist Home, London: V&A Publications.

Benton, T. (2004-5.) 33 entries in Le Corbusier Plans, DVD publication of all Le Corbusier’s drawings, (4 DVDs), Paris and Tokio: Echelle-1.

Benton, T. (2005). ‘Charlotte Perriand : Les années Le Corbusier’, essay in Charlotte Perriand (catalogue), pp. 11-23. Paris : Editions du Centre Pompidou,

Benton, C., Benton, T., and Wood, G. (Eds) (2003). Art Deco 1910-1939, London: V&A. Benton, T. (2003). See ‘The Style and the Age' (co-authored with Charlotte Benton), 'Art Deco architecture', 'Italian architecture and design', 'Avant-garde sources' (co-authored with Charlotte Benton), 'Decline and Revival' (co-authored with Charlotte Benton), pp. 12-27, 100-111, 218-229, 244-259, 426-9.

Benton, T. et al (eds) (2003). Le Corbusier & the architecture of reinvention, London : Architectural Association.

Benton, T. (2001). 'La maison de week-end dans le paysage Parisien,’ in Le Corbusier et Paris, Les Rencontres de la Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris, 2001, pp. 95-111 ((also published in Le Corbusier and the architecture of re-invention, Architectural Association : London, pp. 118-139).

Benton, T. (1999). ‘From the Arengario to the Lictor’s Axe: Memories of Italian Fascism’, in Kwint, M., Breward, C., Aynsley, J. (eds.), Material Memories, Oxford and New York: Berg pp. 199-218.

Benton, T. (1998). ‘The Villa La Rocca’, Die Planungs- und Baugeschichte Der Villa La Roche, Ein Haus für den Kubismus, Die Sammlung Raoul La Roche, Kunstmuseum: Basel, pp. 227-243.

Benton, T. (1995). `Speaking without adjectives: Architecture in the Service of totalitarianism', and `Rome refinds its empire', in Art and Power: South Bank Centre, pp.36-42 and pp.120-129.

Sharp, D., T. Benton, et al. (1977). Pel and Tubular Steel Furniture of the Thirties, London: Architectural Association.

Art Benton, T., C. Benton, et al. (1975). Architecture and Design, 1890-1939: An International Anthology of Original Articles, New York, Whitney Library of Design.

Benton, T., and Millikin, S. (1975). nouveau, 1890-1902, Milton Keynes: Open University.

Benton, T., Benton, C. and Scharf, A. (1975) Design 1920s, Milton Keynes: Open University

Benton, T., S. Muthesius, and Wilkins, B. (1975). Europe, 1900-1914: The reaction to Historicism and Art Nouveau, Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Benton, T., Benton, C. and Sharp, D. (1975). Expressionism, Milton Keynes: Open University.

Benton, T., C. Benton, et al. (1975). Form and Function: A Source Book for the History of Architecture and Design 1890-1939, London: Crosby Lockwood Staples.

Benton, T., Benton, C. (1975). The International Style, Milton Keynes: Open University.

Benton, T. (1975). The New Objectivity. Milton Keynes, Open University Press.

Benton, C. and T. Benton (1975). Images. Milton Keynes, Open University Press.

Blunt, A. and T. Benton (1968). Sicilian Baroque, New York, Macmillan.

Selected recent articles and published conference papers

Benton, T. (2004) ‘Pessac and Lège revisited: standards, dimensions and failures’, Massilia, pp. 64-99.

Benton, T. (2003). ‘From Jeanneret to Le Corbusier: Rusting Iron, bricks and coal and the modern Utopia’, Massilia, Barcelona, pp. 28-39.

Benton, T. (2002). 'The little "maison de weekend" and the Parisian suburbs, in Massilia, Barcelona, pp 112-119.

Benton, T. (2001). ‘Humanism and Fascism’, Comparative Criticism, vol. 23, pp. 69-115, Cambridge University Press.

Benton, T. (1996). "Multiple Media and Multimedia: Some Possible Options for the History of Art and Design." Journal of Design History 9(3): 203-14.

Benton, T. (1993). "Berthold Lubetkin e il sogno del modernismo." Casabella 57: 46-51.

Benton, T. (1992). "Paris Under Glass: Social and Architectural History Thrive in the Covered Passage (AD Travels)." Architectural Digest 49: 46.

Benton, T. (1987). "Historic Houses: Le Corbusier's Cabanon." Architectural Digest 44: 146-51.

Benton, T. (1986). "Historic Architecture: Le Corbusier--Villa Savoye, Monument of the Modern Movement at Poissy." Architectural Digest 43: 182-7