The Subject of an Object

Flyer: Goethe-Institut / a certain object a certain object first appeared on the wall leading to the entrance of the Goethe-Institut. A black, streamline rectangle rendered two dimensional against a soft white backdrop, a flyer noticeable for its object heavy minimalism amidst a sea of mediocre font. Moving closer, the rectangle revealed itself to be … Continue reading

The Gloved Era of Urban Chaos

Paris may have been the capital of 19th century modernity, but it was Berlin that gave birth to the gloved era of urban chaos. Unlike Paris, London, or even New York, Berlin at the turn of the 20th century was not just about the radical transformation of the city, but the birth of the city … Continue reading

Work Means Liberity!

Reading Mark Kingwell’s essay, “The Language of Work,” in last month’s Harper’s Magazine is an opportunity to break from the complexities of our current global crisis and return to a more simple argument. The purpose of his essay is to get at the essence of work, what it is, and why we should resist it. … Continue reading

Performing the Rehearsal: The Strip Tease of Modernity

Hegel changed the course of modern philosophy when he asserted that history, driven by changes in the ideals and values of a given people, is  contradictory by nature. Yet modernity for Hegel was characterized by a sense of universality, thus lending itself to a certain idealism which was soon shattered by Marx, who used Hegelian … Continue reading

Photogenic Factory Reproduction

Let me state the obvious: modern technologies instigated new forms of consumption in the early 20th century. This is well documented in the visual arts–particularly in photography. Right now New York is home to a number of good exhibitions showcasing photography as the medium that truly  represented the changing social and physical landscape of a … Continue reading

Utrecht: Stad Naar Mijn Hart

My encounter with Utrecht has been nothing short of serendipitous. What started as a spontaneous trip to the Schroderhuis (1924) morphed into Rietveld’s Universe and a delightful ode to Dick Bruna. “Architects aren’t supposed to lower space,” mused Schroder in a documentary reflecting on her relationship with Rietveld. But Rietveld wasn’t an architect in the … Continue reading

Oh Modernism, how I want to sit in your abstraction

  Display of Rietveld chairs at the Centraal Museum, Utrecht. Being a huge fan of incline planes, I naturally gravitate toward the great Dutch designers. Some highlights are posted below. From front to back: Auke Komter, Armchair 1935 J.J. R. Oud, Armchair, 1933