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In 2005 I took part in a head-to-head debate on "the legacy of Modernist architecture" at a political conference. I was arguing "for". To my opponent, a Scottish architect, my citations of Bruno Taut and Berthold Lubetkin were irrelevant. Modernism was fundamentally about the baleful influence of one man: Le Corbusier. When he began by describing him as a "Swiss psychotic", it was obvious this was not going to be subtle.
Some will perennially blame Charles-Edouard Jeanneret for every under-serviced tower block, but the many discussions of Le Corbusier: the Art of Architecture - now at the Barbican, after a spell in Liverpool - have shown the solidification of a common-sense consensus. It is customary to divide his work into three facets - the city plans and collective blocks (mostly bad and "totalitarian"), the purist villas (good, albeit disturbingly bare and technocratic) and late expressionism, especially the Ronchamp church (unreservedly good, the work of a genius - the "Picasso of architecture"). This reflects neatly how architecture is perceived today - the Modernist notion of the architect as improver of mankind's lot is replaced by the superstar designer of three-dimensional logos. Le Corbusier was unquestionably adept at that, from the trademarked Modulor Man to the Chandigarh Open Hand, now a city emblem used as a stamp on the local driving licences.
By presenting an all-encompassing exhibition of the architect as Renaissance man, The Art of Architecture might seemingly offer a corrective to these pat divides. Here is a highly un-purist mass of stuff - models, paintings, magazines, films, chairs, found objects, plans, adverts, saucy postcards. Yet this chameleon and dialectician can't quite be united into a consistent whole, and the last thing you will find here is "development" in his work, ever progressing and refining itself (as one might in an exhibition devoted to, say, Mies). Instead there are breaks and ruptures. One would have to have absurdly catholic tastes to approve of everything, and only the most dedicated architectural neocon could hate it all. If there is any narrative here, it runs from an early immersion in a Mediterranean Classicism, to the right angles and urban visions of the 1920s, a brief flirtation with constructivism, and then from the mid-1930s onwards, an increasingly organic conception of form.
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The 42,000-square-foot building, smack dab in the heart of Manhattan’s garment district, has 11 stories and 70 rehearsal studios, most of which are about 350 square feet. Since its inception in 1979, the building has enjoyed 100 percent capacity, according to Lerner, and averages about 150 bands; many bands sublease their space to other musicians. Among the artists who have called The Music Building home at various times in their careers include Madonna, Interpol, the Strokes and the New York Dolls (pictured).
“Part of what our artists pay for is the peace of mind that their most prized possession, their equipment, is safe and secure,” Lerner said, adding that the studios feature steel doors and heavy duty locks.
Rents average between $1,300 and $1,600 per month, and musicians have 24-hour, seven-day-a-week access to building. Lerner said the most popular rehearsal time seems to be after 10 pm, and passersby can hear full-on jams at 2 am.
“Manhattan is really pushing out a lot the cultural facilities throughout the city,” Lerner said, alluding to CBGB’s, which featured many artists who have rehearsed at The Music Building, such as the Dolls and Patti Smith, among others. “We’ve been able to maintain the building as a rehearsal space and make it profitable financially, partly because there’s a true need for it. As long as there are artists who want to play and practice at various times, there will be a need for us.”
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She pointed out the parlor and a living room lined with Cheever’s books (an eclectic collection that includes his friends Bellow, Updike and Lauren Bacall), but curiously there is no study. He wrote on an Underwood typewriter or portable Olivetti in a guest room, his daughter Susan’s room after she moved out, and in a small room above an Ossining barbershop that he rented for a time.
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The project, called the World Digital Library, aims to “promote international and intercultural understanding,” said James H. Billington, the U.S. librarian of Congress, speaking as the Web site (www.wdl.org) was introduced at Unesco headquarters in Paris.
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you are what you eat
won on ebay: costal ariel photography
No, the problem with hype is that it transforms the use value of a would-be work of art into its exchange value. For in the middle (there's no end) of the hype cycle, the important thing is no longer what a song, movie, or book does to you. The big question is its relationship to its reputation. So instead of abandoning yourself to the artifact, you try to exploit inefficiencies in the reputation market. You can get in on the IPO of a new artist, and trumpet the virtues of the Arctic Monkeys before anyone else has heard of them: this is hype. Or you issue a "sell" recommendation on the overhyped Arctic Monkeys: this is backlash. But there are often steals to be found among recently unloaded assets: "Why's everybody hatin' on the Arctic Monkeys?" says the backlash-to-the-backlash. The sophisticated trader is buying, selling, and holding different reputations all at once; the trick in each case is to stay ahead of the market. And the rewards from this trade in reputations redound to your own reputation: even though the market (i.e., other people) dictates your every move, you seem to be a real individual thinking for yourself.
No one will admit to being the 100% tool whose taste is 100% social positioning. Probably no one is that person. But anyone sensitive to art is also sensitive enough to feel his true aesthetic judgments under continuous assault from publicists, bloggers, journalists, advertisers, reviewers, and assorted subcultural specimens. Hype-and-backlash overwhelm the artifacts that supposedly occasion them. At this point a basic inversion takes place. Never mind the moon; look at the finger pointing at the moon. Is it pointing too high, or too low? It makes you want to turn away from that overhyped satellite altogether. But there are perversities involved with ignoring hype, too. There's the person who demonstrates his individuality by patently false proclamations: "The Sopranos has nothing on Friends." Or the person who by promoting a revival of some "underrecognized" artist wastes his time and others': "J. F. Powers is the greatest American novelist of the 20th century." Or you shut yourself off from the world and read only Dante. Some people even proclaim discrimination itself hopelessly snobbish, and just watch whatever's on.
Hype-and-backlash might seem simply to speed up and democratize the process of criticism; everybody's a cultural critic now. But this is mistaken. Real criticism of art sometimes attempts the correction of reputations (as when T. S. Eliot encouraged everyone to drop Shelley and pick up Donne), but that's not its main task. Real criticism can take the form of a monograph or a long review, or just a few words mumbled to a friend. In any case, it judges art with reference to the work's internal logic and generic and historical situation. And criticism, which relies on impressions and arguments, is always susceptible to opposite impressions and counterarguments.
construction images won on ebay:
In 1941 he and Knoll took a three month trip across the country to get a feeling for the different pockets of art and design that were thriving at the time. The trip convinced them that the new generations were going to furnish their homes with quality, modern designs, and when they returned Risom provided Knoll with fifteen pieces for his first Knoll catalogue. This 1942 series [Vostra] featured armchairs, stools and lounges. The chairs, made under wartime materials mandates from cedar wood and surplus webbing, have since become classics and gave Knoll a strong commercial start. The work solidified Risom's style as a combination of simple, well-crafted Scandinavian modernity and streamlined American curves and angles. After the war the cedar was replaced with laminated beech, and the webbed seat and back, inspired by the work of Bruno Matthson, were also replaced with a higher quality material. Knoll’s father’s company sold the chairs as the "Vostra" series in Germany. Risom designed interiors for Knoll, and their New York showroom, but on his return from World War II he started his own company, Jens Risom, Inc.