From The American Interest: ‘Architect Of Destruction’

Full piece here.

That’s a pretty hyperbolic title.

Our author revisits the modernist neo-classicism of Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemayer, suggesting a doctrinal and causal connection between the idealized shapes and forms of both architects and an underlying authoritarianism.

‘Furthermore, Niemeyer shared with his master the fundamental belief in the “civilizing mission” of the state—namely, the state privilege of hoarding unlimited acres of urban land to carve the city (and society) according to the ideals of the ruling elite. The two architects, Le Corbusier and Niemeyer, demand the patronage of tyrants – or, rather, tyrants with a Vision. The New York Times Magazine does not tell its readers that Niemeyer’s Algerian projects overlap with the most authoritarian stage of the Boumediene dictatorship, between 1971 and 1975 ‘

I suspect some folks at the Times are acting under a progressive moon at the moment, where even the more moderate liberal sympathies feel pressure to rediscover radical roots.

Here’s Australian art critic Robert Hughes discussing the Albany plaza, and almost hyperbolically criticizing the aims of modernist architecture.

Is there a bit of a backlash going on?

***Fun fact, he pronounces the “Boogie Woogie”  the “Boo-gie Woo-gie.”  


Donald Pittenger, at Art Contrarian, and formerly of 2 Blowhards, has been looking at modernism.  From the banner of his blog:

‘The point-of-view is that modernism in art is an idea that has, after a century or more, been thoroughly tested and found wanting. Not to say that it should be abolished — just put in its proper, diminished place’

They designed a city in the heart of Brazil that really doesn’t work for people: Brasilia: A Planned City

Check out the ‘Socialist Cybernetics‘ of Salvador Allende.

In working towards a theme, check out Buzludzha, the abandoned communist monument in Bulgaria’s Balkan mountains, which still draws up to 50,000 Bulgarian Socialists for a yearly pilgrimage.  Human Planet’s Timothy Allen visited the structure in the snow and took some haunting photos.  You will think you’ve stepped into a Bond film and one of Blofeld’s modernist lairs, but with somewhat Eastern Orthodox tile frescos of Lenin and Marx gazing out at you, abandoned to time, the elements and to nature.

Related On This Site:  No thanks to living in planned communities upon someone else’s overall vision.: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?Repost-Via Reason: ‘Salvador Allende’s Cybersocialist Command Center’From Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’

A structure in the desert…not even a city Update On LACMA, Michael Heizer And The ‘Levitated Mass’-Modern Art And The Public;..where is modernism headed? Via Youtube: Justin, The Horse That Could Paint

Denis Dutton suggested art could head towards Darwin (and may offer new direction from the troubles of the modern art aimlessness and shallow depth…the money and the fame) Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’ Classical Liberalism Via Friesian.Com-’Exchange with Tomaz Castello Branco on John Gray’