"Playboy Architecture 1953-1979" is one of the most alluring concepts for an architecture exhibition in recent memory. On view at the Elmhurst Museum in suburban Chicago until Aug. 28, the show positions Playboy, better known for its centerfolds, as the driving force behind the mainstream popularity of midcentury modern architecture and design in this country. It’s a provocative idea, made more so by the fact that the lead curator is Beatriz Colomina, a professor of architecture at Princeton University and founding director of the school’s Media and Modernity program (Pep Aviles, an architect and historian who’s currently a Princeton doctoral student, collaborated with her on the exhibition).

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