Modernism in Art, In jeopardy (part 1)
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Modernism in Art, In jeopardy (part 1)

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The final part of the course takes social housing as a case study to develop an understanding of how modernism was thought to have failed. James Clegg...

The final part of the course takes social housing as a case study to develop an understanding of how modernism was thought to have failed. James Clegg

Part 2 by Deborah Jackson.

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  • 1. In Jeopardy: Idealism, Authenticity, Universality and the Avant-Garde
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  • 5. In Jeopardy: Idealism, Authenticity, Universality and the Avant-Garde
  • 6. 5 4 3 2 1
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  • 8. Architect Charles Jencks famously annouced that Modern Architecture ended at 3:32pm on 15 July in 1972 with the destruction of the Pruitt-Igoe housing estate in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 9. Is Puitt-Igoe Successful (according to CIAM)?
    • A segregation of zones (including the separation of spaces for living, working, recreation and circulation)
    • Use of modern building techniques used to produce high density blocks
    • Wide distances between blocks to allow maximum exposure of most block to sunlight
    • Dwellings close to work
    Small Print: “The re-use of past styles of building for new structures in historic areas under the pretext of assthetics [sic] has disastrous consequences. The continuance or the introduction of such habits in any form should not be tolerated.”    
  • 10. The housing estate had been built using Modernist principles of rational design in order to fulfil social ideals and its decline in to crime and decay seemed symbolic of the failure of such design.
  • 11. Le Corbusier (1928-31) Villa Savoye
  • 12. Mies Van Der Rohe (1951) Farnsworth House
  • 13. Charles Jencks (born 1939) In seeking a Universal solution to the problems of social housing – in the standardised geometric language of uniform components and the modernist resistance to explicit ‘content’ – Jencks felt Modern Architecture was unable to communicate effectively to a diverse range of users. Further to this diagnosis Jencks felt that Modern Architecture seemed to be restricted by a poor set of social and economic relationships between Architects and the users of the buildings. ‘Top-down’ the designer’s ‘vision’ was generated almost autonomously rather than being based upon the needs of the people it was intended to serve.
  • 14. Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour (1972/1977)Learning from Las Vegas
  • 15. Another story? “ The environment built before 1979 , often being bulldozed and dynamited, seemed so much more futuristic than the houses and interminable shopping malls being built in front of me. Perhaps because of that, concrete walkways and windswept precincts have always seemed to me to have a sharp poignancy” (Hatherly 2008, p.8)
  • 16. Past relations - Vorticism David Bomberg (1914) Mudbath
  • 17. Brutalism Alison and Peter Smithson (1972) Robin Hood Gardens
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  • 19. “ The 1950s-70s’ ‘Cities in the Sky’ are [...] in the first decade of the 21 st century, along with the NHS, the most persistent remnant of British Socialism. A constant danger is that the Aesthetic Argument can be used as a smokescreen for the political [...] coucil tennants have shown a tendency to vote down the incessant ballots imploring them to sell up. Far be it from us to suggest that this might actually be because they actually like the views [...] the remants of Brutalism are in popular imagination precisely what the old slums always were – places where strange people do strange things, and from whence revolt and resistance might just emerge.” (Hatherley 2008, p. 42)
  • 20. Was there an explosion in Art like that of Architecture?
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  • 26. Carl Andre (1969) 144 Magnesium Squares
  • 27. Shapoloski et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971 (1971)
  • 28. Peter Blake (1961) Self-Portrait With Badges
  • 29. Andy Warhol (1968) Brillo Box . First Exhibited in a series in the Stable Gallery, New York.
  • 30. The end of modernism: 1960s art and culture Tutor: Deborah Jackson Really? Art & Language (1980) Portrait of Lenin by V. Charangovich (1970) in the Styile of Jackson Pollock II.
  • 31. References
    • Coleman, Alice (1990 [1985]) Utopia on Trial: Vision and Reality in Planned Housing. London, Hilary Shipman.
    • Colquhoun, Alan (2002) Modern Architecture . Oxford, Oxford University Press.
    • Cork, Richard (1974) in Arts Council of Great Britain’s Vorticism and its Allies. London, Hayward Gallery.
    • Jencks, Charles (1991 [1977]) Post-Modern Architecture . London, Academy Editions.
    • Gablik, Suzi (1984) Has Modernism Failed? London, Thames and Hudson.
    • Hatherley, Owen (2008) Militant Modernism . Washington, O Books.
    • Hopkins, David (2000) After Modern Art: 1945 – 2000. Oxford, Oxford History of Art.
    • Venturi, Robert et al. (1977[1972]) Learning From Las Vegas . The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    • Reading:
    • Moss, Stephen (2011) The Death of a Housing Ideal . At http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/mar/04/death-housing-ideal?INTCMP=SRCH [accessed 07/03/2011]