|City Center, Washington Post, 4/23/2014|
This weekend in his Post interview, How the “Sassiest Boy in America” became the most interesting man in rock-and-roll, Ian Svenonius so succinctly expressed the utopian potential of modernism. The excellent Post interviewer, Chris Richards, captured so many interested comments by Svenonius. Svenonius talked about his band from the early 1990s, Nation of Ulysses:
In a sense, Nation of Ulysses was a pastiche band...We loved James Brown and the Futurists and Situationism. I'd say the band was innovative in that it was presenting an immersive package that wasn't a revival. And punk is essentially a revival -- a revival of modernism. Punk comes out of postmodernism, but it's real desire is to inhabit modernism in that it says, "Art has meaning and is revolutionary."
Postmodernism says, "Oh, Bauhaus looks cool, but we don't have to subscribe to the ideas of Walter Gropius. We can just have this cool thing and still be bankers." Know what I mean?
|Bauhaus Dessau, built 1925-1926|
This practice of modernist architecture is quite different from what seems to be going on at DC's City Center and elsewhere in DC (see end of previous post). Maybe City Center looks like modernist architecture but really is postmodern?
|Hotel Bonaventure, L.A. Weekly|
What were people thinking when they destroyed the communities in SW during the 1960s and built the modernist architecture that stands there today? Was there an original utopian potential that was undermined? Or was it realized in some ways and not in others?
(1) Hoffa, Harlan. 1961. "Walter Gropius Innovator," Art Education 14(1): 12-15+26+28.
(2) Murphy, Kevin D. 2011. "The Vernacular Moment," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 70(3): 308-329.
(3) Modules on Jameson, "On Postmodernity" and "On Pastiche."
(4) Washington Post, April 23, 2014.