"Art is not a plaything, but a necessity,"
November 16, 2018 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Currently showing through 19 JAN 2019, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Toward A Concrete Utopia showcases Yugoslavian architecture from 1948 to 1980

A discussion on the Museum of Modern Art exhibition Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980.

Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980 | MoMA LIVE

The Unrepeatable Architectural Moment of Yugoslavia’s “Concrete Utopia”

Concrete utopia - What does our love of brutalist buildings say about us?
My theory about why we love concrete architecture now is simple: It has body. Even as we consume design in pixels, we long for spaces where we can feel the weight of the world. Glass architecture, see-through cladding systems, and transparent sky bridges are all worse in person than they are in photographs—and the photographs are often worse than renderings. Concrete architecture gives you shadows, temperature changes, vistas, drama. It has also, in its fifty years on this earth, lived many lives. Going forward, we need to talk about them too.

If you’re looking for visual drama that feels tactile, you are not going to find it at the Museum of Modern Art’s curiously wan new exhibition, “Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980,” which opens at MoMA on July 15, curated by Philip Johnson chief curator of architecture and design Martino Stierli, curatorial assistant Anna Kats, and Florida Atlantic associate professor Vladimir Kulić.

Films, models, red phones, drawings: All these elements are brought to bear and still the photographs dominate, wiping out authorship, region, even the 30-plus-year span of the exhibition. The weirdness feels repressed.
The Aesthetics of a 'Concrete Utopia' The symbol of the exhibition has been the war memorial "Monument to the Battle of the Sutjeska"

see also the Yugoslav War Memorials, or "spomeniks," previously
The partisan movement, with its values of “Brotherhood and Unity”, became the founding historical narrative of the new state. Spomeniks were intended to convey the modern, progressive socialism of the Yugoslav people. The monuments were often locally planned and commissioned, memorialising the victories, sacrifices and traumas of individual villages, towns and regions.

In the post-Yugoslav world, spomeniks have gained a new lease of life as internet-famous “concrete clickbait” — shared online shorn of the crucial historical and ideological contexts that forged them.
Suspended city - A visit to New Belgrade, the town caught outside time
Block party - Meet the people who live among the brutalist edifices of New Belgrade
posted by the man of twists and turns (3 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Where are our collectively owned ziggurats? I want to talk about the ziggurats. I want to help design the ziggurats, I want the ziggurats in my life.
posted by The Whelk at 9:29 AM on November 16 [1 favorite]


I recognized the Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija from the cover of Unknown Mortal Orchestra's self-titled debut album. The concrete structure of this monument was clad in stainless steel panels, but it's been skeletonized in recent years as the panels have been stolen.
posted by theory at 3:46 PM on November 16


Some fantastic photos of great architecture/monuments/public art. Also some interesting discussion about how those of us in the West have fetishized B&W photos of some of this work.
posted by kozad at 7:06 PM on November 16


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