Museums: Making It New

One of the most powerful and haunting experiences of the retrospective exhibition of work of the artist Bill Viola at New York’s Whitney Museum last year was a double-sided video projection showing a walking man; small and distant at first, the figure advanced slowly and deliberately, until, larger than life, …

The New Architecture

There is a new pilgrimage point in Santiago de Compostela, the near perfect city in the far northwest corner of Spain that has drawn supplicants and scholars for centuries to its great cathedral and extraordinary architecture. Although a modern intervention seems almost unthinkable in a city of such intimate scale …

Inventing American Reality

In recent years a shift has taken place in the way we perceive reality, a shift so pervasive that it has radically altered basic assumptions about art and life. The shift is profound; it goes beyond the debate over modernism and postmodernism and it increasingly affects the design of the …

Rebuilding Architecture

How is the recent architect literature dealing with the transition between modernism and postmodernism? This unusually provocative moment when the art of building is straddling orthodoxy and revolt has produced some of the most spectacular books and periodicals that the profession has ever seen. It soon becomes clear, however, that …

After Modern Architecture

Two words characterize the architectural scene today: dynamic and disquieting. It is not the degree or kind of change that is unsettling, or the heat of the debate between the modernists and the post-modernists; change and controversy are an indication of a vital and lively art. The high ratio between …

Is Modern Architecture Dead?

Modern architecture has been declared dead and the wake has been held in the better art journals. News of its death has finally filtered down to that part of the popular press that is always on the alert for cultural trends to exploit. The word that modernism is out and …

The Troubled State of Modern Architecture

A respectable and conventional title for this article would be “Architecture at the Crossroads.” A more alarming title could be “The Crisis of Modern Architecture.” On a more personal note, I could call it “Critic in Crisis: Or How I Am Learning to Live With, But Not to Love, Post-Modernism.” …

Modern Architecture in Question

The Museum of Modern Art’s major fall exhibition, “The Architecture of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts,” is clearly meant as an object lesson to architects (particularly to young ones) and a question raiser for everyone. These questions are serious and heretical ones about the doctrine and dogma of modern architecture—the movement …

In Love With Times Square

Style exists on two levels. It is practiced and produced; something akin, creatively, to breathing. And it is talked about. One is art and the other is polemics. The connection can be tenuous. Style—the product—is a reality, with or without polemical explanations. It is automatically and inevitably the result of …