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Avant-Garde in a Different Key: Karl Kraus’s The Last Days of Mankind

Act 1, scene 1. "The stage directions read, “Vienna. The Ringstrasse promenade at Sirk Corner. Flags wave from the buildings. Soldiers marching by are cheered by the onlookers. General excitement. The crowd breaks up into small groups.”[2] The newsboys with their “Extra Extra,” announcing the outbreak of war, are interrupted by a drunk demonstrator who shouts “Down with Serbia! Hurrah for the Hapsburgs! Hurrah! For S-e-r-bia!” and is immediately kicked in the pants for his mistake (LTM, p. 69). A crook and a prostitute exchange insults, even as two army contractors, talking of possible bribes the rich will use to avoid the draft, cite Bismarck’s words, in Neue Freie Presse (Vienna’s major newspaper at the time of the assassination of the archduke in Serbia), to the effect that the Austrians deserve kissing. One officer tells another that war is “unanwendbar” (of no use) when he really means, as his friend points out, “unabwendbar” (unavoidable) (LTM, pp. 70–71). A patriotic citizen praises the coming conflict as a holy war of defense against “encirclement” by hostile forces, and the crowd responds by making up rhymes (in Viennese dialect) denigrating the enemy (LTM, p. 72)." [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 10, 2014 - 9 comments

Doesn’t your life feel like his?

This week sees the publication of the third volume of “My Struggle,” the thirty-six-hundred-page autobiographical novel by Karl Ove Knausgaard, the Norwegian novelist. It’s hard to overstate the strangeness of the book’s success. The six volumes of “My Struggle” chronicle, in hypnotic detail, episodes from Knausgaard’s life. There is no plot to speak of, unless you consider real life a plot. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 3, 2014 - 31 comments

Oh, yeah, about that Monet in the other house...

Works by Monet, Picasso, and Renoir are among the 60 additional works found in the Salzburg home of Cornelius Gurlitt, who made headlines last year when it was revealed that he had more than 1400 works stashed in his Munich apartment that had been lost or stolen during WWII. This comes just weeks after Gurlitt indicated for the first time that he is now willing to consider returning works that are determined to have been looted by the Nazis. Determining rightful ownership of the works is an ongoing and complicated process. (Previously)
posted by scody on Feb 11, 2014 - 20 comments

"The work of yakkers and tweeters and braggers..."

Jonathan Franzen: what's wrong with the modern world. [The Guardian]
posted by Fizz on Sep 13, 2013 - 89 comments

Italo Calvino's Letters

The New Yorker is publishing excerpts from Italo Calvino: Letters, 1941-1985, translated by Martin McLaughlin, on its book blog. (via) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on May 22, 2013 - 15 comments

In every dream home a heartache

The clean lines, the geometric decorative elements, the seamless blending of indoor and outdoor space… I sure do love mid-century modern architecture.

Do you know what I love more? My children. And that is why I will never live in my MCM dream home. Because mid-century modern architecture is designed to KILL YOUR CHILDREN. (Also, moderately clumsy or drunk adults).
posted by MartinWisse on Apr 7, 2013 - 167 comments

“Sibyl, what do you want?” she answered: “I want to die.”

T.S. Eliot’s cultural clusterfuck and middle finger to the stripped-down simplicity of the Imagists. Let the folks over at rapgenius breakdown The Waste Land for you. [via]
posted by Think_Long on Mar 26, 2013 - 27 comments

For squares only

Folks who love and/or hate modernist architecture: the functionmag tumblr might be fun. Via things.
posted by mediareport on Mar 24, 2013 - 17 comments

1. one specimen α of the species coolcaticus with maximal length of neck

At this point I usually feel it would be a good idea to say something about this , Exercices de Style, But as it's rather difficult to know where to begin, if I'm not careful I find that my would-be explanation goes rather like this: "Oh yes, you know, it's the story of a chap who gets into a bus and starts a row with another chap who he thinks keeps treading on his toes on purpose, and Queneau repeats the story 99 times in different ways - it's terribly good . . . [more inside]
posted by Think_Long on Mar 4, 2013 - 9 comments

She looked good coming down those stairs

One hundred years ago today in 1913, an art exhibition opened in New York City that shocked the country, changed our perception of beauty and had a profound effect on artists and collectors. The International Exhibition of Modern Art — which came to be known, simply, as the Armory Show — marked the dawn of Modernism in America.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 19, 2013 - 15 comments

"One can tell if one is happy by listening to the wind. This latter reminds the unhappy of the fragility of their house and pursues them in fitful sleep and violent dreams. To the happy, it sings the song of their safety and security: its raging whistle registers the fact that it no longer has any power over them."

Minima Moralia: Reflections from the Damaged Life is a book written by German sociologist and philosopher Theodor W. Adorno during his exile in California in the 1940s. Translator Dennis Redmond has released his translation under creative commons (here is the same translation set up in a more book-like way). In his essay Promiscuous Reading, Mark O'Connell talks about his habit of never finishing books, but an exception being "this captivatingly strange and mordant text" Minima Moralia, "a thematically wayward aggregation of a hundred and fifty-three short essays and aphorisms that darts restlessly from one subject matter to the next, its fleeting yet intense engagements rarely spanning more than a page and a half." Among the subject matters Adorno addresses is the ethics of writing, which has reverberated down through the years, and is often set up in opposition to George Orwell's thought, as recounted by James Miller in the essay Lingua Franca. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Dec 28, 2012 - 31 comments

The Brutality of Experience

Brutal Baroque: An Ode To Midcentury Modern Churches: French photographer Fabrice Fouillet traveled across Europe photographing some of the most important examples of postwar churches, creating a catalogue of the spaces called Corpus Christi. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Dec 13, 2012 - 18 comments

Future past

Driving down the street in LA, you may notice coffee shops, gas stations or motels with bright primary colors, sweeping lines, bold angles and a retrofuture feel: Googie - Architecture of the Space Age [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 23, 2012 - 16 comments

Paris is a huge home-sick peasant

This month marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Hope Mirrlees. She is best remembered for her fantasy novel Lud-in-the-Mist, but had earlier written a 600 line poem, published by her friend, Virginia Woolf, called Paris. [more inside]
posted by tigrefacile on Apr 27, 2012 - 6 comments

"It All Turns On Affection"

Last night, author and farmer Wendell Berry delivered a powerful lecture [video; full text here includes portions not delivered verbally] to a full house on the occasion of his accepting the National Endowment of the Humanities' Jefferson Award. The famous PC holdout has appeared previously in the blue, but this lecture is not to be missed. Here is soul nourishment for the long-time Berry follower, and for the newcomer a superb introduction to one of our time's greatest intellects. [more inside]
posted by maniabug on Apr 25, 2012 - 27 comments

Little Magazines

Beginning in the 1910s, a combination of new ideas and technologies generated a proliferation of little magazines. These magazines made possible the revolutionary movement known as modernism. Little magazines promoted artistic and political movements ranging from Imagism, Futurism, Cubism, Surrealism, and Dada, to Anarchism, Socialism, Communism, and Feminism. Little magazines provided a stage for modernist innovations ranging from New Art and the New Music, to the New Negro and the New Woman. Little magazines championed individual liberties ranging from free verse, to free speech, and free love. Today, we are using the World Wide Web to produce a database dedicated to these important periodicals.
posted by latkes on Apr 23, 2012 - 11 comments

Typographic Inspiration

Beautiful Type is a patchwork of photos and illustrations having a relationship with typography. AisleOne is focused on graphic design, typography, grid systems, minimalism and modernism. iABC is a collection of beautiful letters. Inspiration Bit has a nice archive of articles about web typography. Nicetype is about fonts, logos, posters and software. Twenty-Six Types celebrates the beautiful letters. Typenuts is type-themed iPhone and desktop wallpapers. Typoretum is about typography, letterpress and printing history. Enjoy.
posted by netbros on Nov 6, 2011 - 5 comments

Mapping Petersburg

Mapping Petersburg "..explores the everyday life and the material, political, and literary culture of St. Petersburg [..] at the beginning of the twentieth century. It maps eleven itineraries through the city with the purpose of creating a palpable sense of life in Russia's late imperial capital on the eve of the 1917 revolution and during the subsequent decade." [About] [via] [more inside]
posted by peacay on Apr 6, 2011 - 8 comments

Tennis, with a net.

What would some famous (and infamous) comicbook classics look like as Penguins or Pelicans? [more inside]
posted by kipmanley on Mar 20, 2011 - 12 comments

Stephen Kanner, a quiet cosmopolitan

Stephen H. Kanner, FAIA. The late architect Stephen Kanner made wonderful buildings in Los Angeles.
posted by xowie on Dec 12, 2010 - 7 comments

Modernist treasures from a bombed-out cellar

Rediscovered in Berlin: Eleven modernist sculptures branded as "degenerate art" by the Nazis and thought to have been destroyed during WWII. The sculptures include works by Otto Freundlich, who was murdered at Majdanek; Naum Slutzky, a craftsman of both the Wiener Werkstätte and the Bauhaus; and Margarete Moll, who studied with Matisse.
posted by scody on Nov 9, 2010 - 18 comments

They keep calling: Ahead!

A small slide show of partisan monuments on the territory of former Yugoslavia. via: [aesthetic interlude] and [grain edit]
posted by tellurian on Apr 27, 2010 - 12 comments

‘Chloe’ by Atom Egoyan: Architecture porn? “Stinker”? Faux–“erotic thriller”?

Toronto Critics Praise Egoyan Stinker” blares the headline at Onion manqué URNews. They’re talking about Chloe (IMDB; official site), the new film by Canadian cinéaste Atom Egoyan that opened on 2,400 fewer U.S. screens than Hot Tub Time Machine. Critics are focussing on how Toronto plays itself for once – in the Globe and Mail, the irascible Liam Lacey panned the picture, then talked mostly about buildings and settings. Architecture porn... or lesbian porn? “Chloe turns from quiet family drama to loudly awful erotic thriller” is one gloss, but let’s let Choire Sicha adjudicate: “There is no less crude way to put this. Julianne Moore can act with her bosom.… The movie of course ends in absolute hysterics. Charles Busch couldn’t have plotted it better were he writing a sequel to Vampire Lesbians of Sodom.” [more inside]
posted by joeclark on Mar 29, 2010 - 133 comments

a vague nostalgia for a benevolent, quasi-modernist English bureaucratic aesthetic

Lash Out and Cover Up: Owen Hatherley in Radical Philosophy on "Keep Calm and Carry On," manufactured nostalgia for austerity, and modernist kitsch, in its authoritarian and ironically adapted forms. [more inside]
posted by RogerB on Sep 16, 2009 - 31 comments

Helveticise your web experience

Love Helvetica and modernist typographic design? Seen the film? Now, with the power of browser userscripts, you can have the 20th-century high-modernist experience in your favourite web applications. Scripts exist to Helveticise Gmail, Twitter and Google Reader, and work with a variety of modern browsers. [more inside]
posted by acb on Sep 15, 2009 - 69 comments

Eternal sunshine

RIP Julius Shulman, iconic photographer of modernist architecture.
posted by WPW on Jul 16, 2009 - 13 comments

The dead hand of neo-traditionalism

Controversy has erupted in Britain after it emerged that Prince Charles used his personal influence with Qatari royalty to sack modernist architect Richard Rogers from a development in London. Charles has been an outspoken critic of modern architecture and advocate of neo-traditionalist styles, and even created a model village to showcase his ideas about "proper" architecture. Charles' preferred replacement for Rogers is Quinlan Terry, known for his neo-classicist leanings. [more inside]
posted by acb on Jun 16, 2009 - 95 comments

We might've done this before, but better.

Mapping with Isotype: A collection of examples of Otto Neurath, Gerd Arntz, and Marie Reidemeister’s cartographic language, isotype. (Still influential today).
posted by Jeff_Larson on Feb 21, 2009 - 13 comments

the death of illiquidity

Massive Poetry Bailout in the works [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Sep 28, 2008 - 52 comments

Morgues for an era that well knows what to do with them

Atlantic Yards is the largest project Frank Gehry, now seventy-eight, has ever undertaken. And if it proves to be his last large project, it will be a fitting capstone to a career utterly blind to the public function of architecture. For how better to assert your dedication to personal expression over context than to have your distinct visual style serve as the emblem for the death of two Brooklyn neighborhoods?
Charles Taylor discusses the anti-humanism of Modern architecture. [Via] [Previously]
posted by Sonny Jim on Aug 21, 2008 - 61 comments

book (design) stories

book (design) stories: modernist book design in germany and switzerland 1925–1965 (and beyond)
posted by carsonb on Aug 5, 2008 - 5 comments

Forgotten Architects

Forgotten Architects: In the 1920s and early 1930s, German Jewish architects created some of the greatest modern buildings in Germany, mainly in the capital Berlin. A law issued by the newly elected German National Socialist Government in 1933 banned all of them from practicing architecture in Germany. In the years after 1933, many of them managed to emigrate, while many others were deported or killed under Hitler’s regime. Pentagram Papers 37: Forgotten Architects is a survey of 43 of these architects and their groundbreaking work. [more inside]
posted by sveskemus on Jun 16, 2008 - 10 comments

The Modernist Journals Project

The Modernist Journals Project collects literary arts journals from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including both issues of Wyndham Lewis' Vorticist manifesto Blast, the first ten years of Poetry magazine (with Amy Lowell, T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton and foreign correspondent Ezra Pound), topical essays, the Virginia Woolf-inspired December 1910 Project, the amazing proto-dada zine Le Petit Journal des Réfusées and a searchable biographical database of famous and not so famous artists and writers.
posted by mediareport on Apr 28, 2008 - 10 comments

Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-Tech Britain

Dan Dare, pilot of the future, scourge of the Venusian Mekon menace, and modernist architectural inspiration?
posted by Artw on Apr 28, 2008 - 12 comments

Earle of the land of Imagination

4 Artists Paint 1 Tree, a segment from Disneyland included on the recent DVD release of Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty, features the artistic process of one of my favorite painters and cartoon modernists, Eyvind Earle. If you've seen Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, Paul Bunyan or Peter Pan, you're familiar with the fantastical and brilliant landscapes he produces. His paintings show a particular fondness for Big Sur and Central California.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Dec 10, 2007 - 5 comments

Gillespie, Kidd & Coia: Architecture 1956-1987

Gillespie, Kidd & Coia: Architecture 1956-1987 [more inside]
posted by Len on Nov 2, 2007 - 14 comments

"There has never really been any modernity, never any real progress, never any assured liberation."

Meditations on: the poetic and profane; on silence; death; catastrophe; Cage — and yet more strangeness and beauty from David Ralph Lichtensteiger's travels within the world of 20th C. avant garde music and postmodernism.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 17, 2006 - 2 comments

Utopian Modernism In London

Utopian Modernism In London: A Series Of Drifts... is a tour of modernist landmarks, tying architectural practice to politics and movements in art. Author Owen Hatherley also keeps a weblog chiefly concerned with art and utopianism in Weimar Germany and the early Soviet Union. Photographer Ludwig Abache's site contains more architectural imagery, from London and beyond. (via newthings)
posted by jack_mo on Jun 28, 2006 - 13 comments

Maximize Your View

Room With A View. Has the view out of your living room window become boring and stale? No problem, build yourself a million dollar Rotating Home. A former office manager, self prclaimed "hobbyist" Al Johnstone has built quite the technological feat [PDF] despite having no engineering background, obtaining around 30 patents in the process.
posted by afx114 on Feb 13, 2006 - 19 comments

Electric Bouguereau

Bouguereau who? In 1900, his contemporaries Degas and Monet reportedly named him as most likely to be remembered as the greatest 19th century French painter by the year 2000. After about 1920 though, Bouguereau and the academic tradition fell into disrepute. His name was not mentioned in encyclopedias for decades. (You probably haven't heard of him unless you read this here.) Conspiracy? Or systematic suppression by the 20th century art establishment? (warning - some art NSFW - the 'him' and 'his' links)
posted by Smedleyman on Nov 29, 2005 - 26 comments

Wrecking Ball

Who Lost Gordon Bunshaft's Travertine House? 1) Widow of Lever House architect Gordon Bunshaft wills art filled modernist house (+ 2.4 East Hampton property) to The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). MOMA takes art, sells modernist house to Martha Stewart. MS guts house, lets rot, transfers ownership to daughter who sells it. New owner tears down modernist house, left with 2.4 acres of waterfront property.
posted by R. Mutt on Oct 11, 2005 - 18 comments

Modernist design and architecture

Design Observer and the New York Times (reg. req'd) on modernism.
posted by Tlogmer on May 16, 2005 - 4 comments

John Lautner's Chemosphere: part Jetsons, part Bond and vintage L.A. Modern.

The most modern home built in the world. "From the outside it looks like a spaceship you cannot enter. But if you go inside, it feels very cozy… very Zen and calming. Maybe because you are floating above the city, in the sky". John Lautner's Chemosphere residence is the product of a fortuitous union of architect, client, time and place. Leonard Malin was a young aerospace engineer in late-1950s L.A. whose father-in-law had just given him a plot north of Mulholland Drive, near Laurel Canyon. The only catch: at roughly 45 degrees, the slope was all but unbuildable. Lautner sketched a bold vertical line, a cross, and a curve above it. "Draw it up," he told his assistant. Now publisher Benedikt Taschen owns Chemosphere (NSFW), and after 20 years of neglect the house has been beautifully restored (.pdf) by Frank Escher.
posted by matteo on Apr 7, 2005 - 24 comments

Castor and Pollux walking naked, side by side, past Kafka

Guy Davenport is dead. The irrealist writer, translator of Archilochus, friend of modernists, and influential teacher has joined Hugh Kenner in whatever lies beyond this mortal coil. More links at today's wood s lot, where I learned the sad news.
posted by languagehat on Jan 5, 2005 - 8 comments

It's just not Wright.

Only about 350 of the original 400 structures designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright are still standing. As of last week, that number has decreased by one. The demolition of the 1916 W.S. Carr house in Grand Beach, Michigan was the first Wright building in over 30 years to be demolished. Mark another loss to the heritage of U.S. Modernism.
posted by ScottUltra on Nov 16, 2004 - 12 comments

Stories about the lives we've made

Making the Modern World brings you powerful stories about science and invention from the eighteenth century to today. It explains the development and the global spread of modern industrial society and its effects on all our lives. The site expands upon the permanent landmark gallery at the Science Museum, using the Web and dynamic multimedia techniques to go far beyond what a static exhibition can do. Terrific wrapping, excellent content.
posted by tcp on Jul 12, 2004 - 4 comments

Ezra Pound Finally Makes The Library of America

Some Of Our Best Poets Are Fascists: An interesting article by Guy Davenport. My own theory is that an inordinate percentage of great (and minor) Modernist writers were, politically speaking, bonkers. Ezra Pound, Fernando Pessoa and T.S.Eliot were all distastefully authoritarian, anti-semitic and, in general, rancorous old farts. Why is this, if anyone still cares? [Via Arts and Letters Daily.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Mar 26, 2004 - 22 comments

Ikea does not suffice.

Extra ordinary, every day. Online exhibition drawn from the Bauhaus Collection at Harvard's splendid Busch-Reisinger Museum (which also includes fine holdings of Austrian Secessionism, 1920s abstraction, and German Expressionists). Fellow MeFi modernism buffs, you may start drooling...now.
posted by scody on Aug 19, 2003 - 4 comments

DIY Mondrian Machine

Ton Mondrian Is Even Worse Than Mon Mondrian: Use the machine to see how you square up to the Master. [Shockwave required; first link via Bifurcated Rivets.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jan 23, 2003 - 18 comments

Here's

Here's a take on the ways in which American society might change. Interesting in itself but it adds little to what's already been posted here before. The purpose is not more of the same arrrgghh, history just chaaaaanged guff. The purpose of linking is for any anti-post-modernists to gloat at the author, Francis Fukuyama, who has at least once before proclaimed the end of history.
posted by vbfg on Sep 17, 2001 - 3 comments

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