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Bigness

Hal Foster: Rem Koolhaas, 29 November 2001

Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping 
by Rem Koolhaas et al.
Taschen, 800 pp., £30, December 2001, 3 8228 6047 6
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Great Leap Forward 
by Rem Koolhaas et al.
Taschen, 720 pp., £30, December 2001, 3 8228 6048 4
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... In Delirious New York (1978), his ‘retroactive manifesto’ for Manhattan, Rem Koolhaas published an old tinted postcard of the city skyline in the early 1930s. It presents the Empire State, Chrysler, and other landmark buildings of the time with a visionary twist – a dirigible is set to dock at the spire of the Empire State ...

In Venice

Hal Foster: At the Biennale, 4 August 2005

... a city already sinking under the pressure of its own attractiveness? It’s simple: the Biennale remains the best crash-course in contemporary art, with two major surveys, a score of national pavilions, and sundry projects scattered around town, sometimes in exquisite churches or palazzi. Documenta, the other prestigious international exhibition in ...

It hits in the gut

Will Self, 8 March 2012

Militant Modernism 
by Owen Hatherley.
Zero, 146 pp., £9.99, April 2009, 978 1 84694 176 4
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A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain 
by Owen Hatherley.
Verso, 371 pp., £9.99, July 2011, 978 1 84467 700 9
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... contemporary British architecture actively – as someone living and working within it – remains debatable. Hatherley is ostensibly a critic in the mode of Reyner Banham: freewheeling, spinning out ideas, theories and evaluations that may have their origin in the stony core of the built environment, but which spread to encompass most other aesthetic ...

At Somerset House

Peter Campbell: Zaha Hadid, 16 December 2004

... who won the prize in 1989) have, over the years, chosen a significant number of winners (Gehry, Rem Koolhaas and now Hadid) whose reputations, at the time of the award, depended to a great extent on small buildings or on their contributions to a parallel universe of competition entries and imaginary projects. Hadid, in particular, has been famous for ...

Sightbites

Jonathan Meades: Archigram’s Ghost, 21 May 2020

Archigram: The Book 
edited by Dennis Crompton.
Circa, 300 pp., £95, November 2018, 978 1 911422 04 4
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... of Verne and Wells. It broke, too, with another tradition: that of integrated rationalism whose extreme manifestation was Le Corbusier’s glum Plan Voisin for the destruction of Paris, a self-advertisement worthy of a base politician. Archigram was a reaction to the purity of the white orthogonal architecture of the 1920s and early 1930s championed by ...

Dangerously Insane

Deyan Sudjic: Léon Krier, 7 October 2010

The Architecture of Community 
by Léon Krier.
Island, 459 pp., £12.99, February 2010, 978 1 59726 579 9
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... as the last great hope of classical urbanism. Speer, in Krier’s eyes, was the tragic victim of Nuremberg, incarcerated in Spandau because he was guilty of a passion for Doric columns, while the far more destructive Wernher von Braun was judged useful enough to be whisked to comfortable exile in the US. Speer’s projects continue, not unlike sex for the ...

At the Met Breuer

Hal Foster: Thoughts made visible, 30 March 2016

... to extend its exhibition space for decades, but proposals of various merit by Michael Graves, Rem Koolhaas and Piano were all shot down, largely because of the effect they would have had on adjacent brownstones which, though nondescript, had landmark status. With the new deal the Whitney could leave uptown, and appear generous in doing so, while the ...

Hey, that’s me

Hal Foster: Bruce Mau, 5 April 2001

Life Style 
by Bruce Mau.
Phaidon, 626 pp., £39.95, November 2000, 0 7148 3827 6
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... and to purify: hence his notorious formula – ‘the evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from utilitarian objects’ – and his infamous association of ornament and crime. This anti-decorative dictate is a Modernist mantra if ever there was one, and it is for such puritanical propriety that Post-Modernists have, in ...

Go, Modernity

Hal Foster: Norman Foster, 22 June 2006

Catalogue: Foster and Partners 
edited by David Jenkins.
Prestel, 316 pp., £22.99, July 2005, 3 7913 3298 8
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Norman Foster: Works 2 
edited by David Jenkins.
Prestel, 548 pp., £60, January 2006, 3 7913 3017 9
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... as if Foster wanted to outdo the tomes produced for more notorious peers such as Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas, whose offices seem like cottage industries in comparison with his. For Foster is also ‘Foster and Partners’, a practice of more than six hundred people with projects in fifty countries. There are six large design groups, each headed by two ...

Balls in Aquaria

Thomas Crow: Joseph Rykwert, 23 October 2008

The Judicious Eye: Architecture against the Other Arts 
by Joseph Rykwert.
Reaktion, 496 pp., £29.95, June 2008, 978 1 86189 358 1
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... philanthropy, fed by oil revenues, set against backdrops provided by Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas or Jean Nouvel. Though Rykwert mentions none of these architects by name, their work plainly lies behind his guiding assumption that the ‘privatisation’ of political and financial power in modern times has led to a wave of arbitrary ...

Smash the Screen

Hal Foster: ‘Duty Free Art’, 5 April 2018

Duty Free Art: Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War 
by Hito Steyerl.
Verso, 256 pp., £16.99, October 2017, 978 1 78663 243 2
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... affects’. Steyerl offers these last four terms (adapted from Thomas Elsaesser, Rem Koolhaas, Harun Farocki and Steven Shaviro respectively) as part of her lexicon for survival in a contemporary life caught in the capitalist Web. In her view this life threatens to become an endless match of Captcha (as in ‘Completely Automated Public ...

After the White Cube

Hal Foster, 19 March 2015

... dedicated to inanimate art. During the first boom in museums in post-1989 ‘new Europe’, Rem Koolhaasremarked that since there’s not enough past to go around, its tokens can only rise in value. Today, it seems, there’s not enough present to go around: for reasons that are obvious enough in a ...

Exhibitionists

Hal Foster: Curation, 3 June 2015

Ways of Curating 
by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Penguin, 192 pp., £9.99, March 2015, 978 0 241 95096 8
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Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World – And Everything Else 
by David Balzer.
Pluto, 140 pp., £8.99, April 2015, 978 0 7453 3597 1
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... to connoisseurship. This divide was less marked between academics and curators who worked on premodern periods – the Renaissance expert Michael Baxandall, for example, was greatly respected in both worlds – and some curators of 20th-century art are much admired in the academy (the Museum of Modern Art in New York has had a string of such figures, from ...

Space Wars

Fredric Jameson, 4 April 1996

The Invisible in Architecture 
edited by Ole Bouman and Roemer van Toorn.
Academy, 516 pp., $115, February 1994, 1 85490 285 7
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The Classical Vernacular: Architectural Principles in an Age of Nihilism 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 158 pp., £19.95, October 1994, 1 85754 054 9
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... by the eyes, a concupiscio oculis? That the builders, too, are formed within such a system removes the conspiratorial onus from the photographers and explains the heliotropic drift of built space in the direction of such visual thrills and highs, which are sinful only in the pleasurable sense and not to be stamped out by puritanical conceptions of what ...

Global Style

Hal Foster: Renzo Piano, 20 September 2007

Piano: Renzo Piano Building Workshop 1966-2005 
by Philip Jodidio.
Taschen, 528 pp., £79.99, February 2005, 3 8228 5768 8
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Renzo Piano Building Workshop Vol. IV 
by Peter Buchanan.
Phaidon, 240 pp., £22.95, January 2005, 0 7148 4287 7
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... primitivism à la Josephine Baker, and Le Corbusier did eat his fill. Piano is never so extreme, yet sometimes his exquisite architecture discloses a fetishistic side, too. Consider his Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center in Nouméa, New Caledonia (1991-98), whose distinctive feature is a fine series of ten pavilions with curved walls in wood slats that ...

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