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Archive for May 17th, 2006


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Owen Hatherley, at The Measures Taken (one of the best blogs going, btw), on just what’s so disturbing about the Victoria & Albert Museum’s new exhibition, Modernism: Designing a New World 1914-1939.

Rather, what disturbs here is what Jenkins, quite rightly, calls politics in the guise of art. One scribbled comment in the book asks why the connection between modernism and Nazism wasn’t emphasised (well, that would be because there wasn’t one), others use phrases like ‘cold’ or ‘brutal’…what the detractors have noticed is that much of this essentially comes from, or supports, the possibility of a system other than the one we are perpetually told is the only possible. Whether it’s the photos of militant stronghold siedlung Karl-Marx-Hof in Vienna, a huge model of the Vesnin’s Pravda building, Rodchenko’s oddly alluring workers’ overalls, Corbusier taking a pen and scribbling out the centre of Paris…there are hundreds of possibilities dotted around these Victorian corners.

UPDATE: And today there’s more, complete with a very provocative quotation from Stalin:

“The combination of the Russian revolutionary sweep with American efficency is the essence of Leninism in Party and state work.”

Joseph Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, 1924

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May 17, 2006 at 9:04 pm