Matthew Gin is a historian of architecture and urbanism in Europe and the Americas during the long eighteenth century with specializations in spectacle, public space, and infrastructure. His research is concerned primarily with the manifold ways that architecture serves the interests of power. Gin’s current book project, Paper Monuments: The Politics of Ephemeral Festival Architecture in Early Modern France, is a material history of the décor built for royal celebrations. Focusing on these decorations as complex architectural objects enmeshed within different political, economic, and artistic networks, the book offers a new narrative about the production of the royal image and reassesses architecture’s place within the political culture of the Enlightenment. He has presented research at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and his writing has appeared in Journal18.
Gin’s research has been supported by the UCLA Center for 17th- and 18th- Century Studies, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Dumbarton Oaks, and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. Gin received his PhD in architectural history from Harvard University. He also holds a Master of Arts in architectural history from Harvard, a Master of Environmental Design from Yale University as well as a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College. Previously he worked at the Museum of Modern Art and the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.
While his research is anchored in eighteenth-century Europe, Gin’s teaching and curatorial work span a broad geographic and chronological range. He has taught global surveys as well as courses on nineteenth-century architecture and urbanism while as a curator he has organized exhibitions on twentieth-century residential architecture, the work of Alison and Peter Smithson, and mid-century German graphic design.