California Literary Review


Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012): Some Brazilian Contexts


December 10th, 2012

The city of Brasília may have been an isolated phenomenon, rising on its remote and featureless plain, but the innovative modernism of Niemeyer and his contemporaries was not.

Now Boarding: Fentress Airports + The Architecture of Flight, Denver Art Museum


August 7th, 2012

But if there’s one form of architecture that has come to embody our society’s conflicted relationship with public space – our competing demands for security and for freedom of movement, for technocratic efficiency and for humanistic design – it is the airport.

Landscape and Memory: Wildfires Threaten Colorado’s Built Heritage


June 28th, 2012

As environmental writer Bill McKibben noted on Twitter, the evacuation of the nation’s center for research into global warming in response to a wildfire fueled by drought conditions and an unprecedented heat wave, is “beyond irony.”

Denver’s Clyfford Still Museum


January 9th, 2012

In 1959, he referred to esteemed critic Clement Greenberg and others as “wandering mongrels” only able to “cock a leg” against work they could not understand.

Farewell to the Future: Iconic “Sleeper” House is Foreclosed On


December 13th, 2010

By 1973, the “technological faith, confidence, and competence” Hines sees embodied in the modernism of the early sixties had already taken a battering. Deaton’s Sculptured House stood empty, its interior still unfinished, when the makers of Sleeper came looking for locations.

Pritzker Prize goes to Bowery Museum’s Architects


May 24th, 2010

The 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize was awarded to the Japanese duo, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. Their firm, Sanaa, is responsible for creating some of the most daring and elegant buildings of the last decade, including the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York (2007), and the 21st Century museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan.

Recycling Meets Recreation


May 17th, 2010

Last year Macro-Sea conceived of the Dumpster Pool. The designers constructed what they call a “lo-fi country club” in a trash-filled lot in Brooklyn. The mini oasis consisted of three adjacent swimming pools made out of repurposed dumpsters.

Paul Bril’s Restored Paintings in the San Silvestro Chapel at Rome’s Sancta Sanctorum


November 30th, 2009

Born in Antwerp in 1554, Bril was working in Italy at the end of the century, where his landscapes marked the transition between what Paolucci called the “autumn of Mannerism” of the Renaissance and the birth of the Baroque style. The change was enormous, and Bril is acknowledged as among its authors.

The Barnes Foundation: Beauty Surrounded by Controversy


October 12th, 2009

And what a treasure trove! By the time of his death in 1951, Barnes had purchased 181 works by Renoir, 69 by Cezanne, 7 Van Gogh paintings, 59 works by Matisse, 11 by Degas, 16 by Modigliani, 46 Picasso’s, with 4 apiece by Manet and Monet. He also collected modern American works by William Glackens, Charles Demuth and Maurice and Charles Prendergast. His eclectic tastes extended to African sculptures, European decorative art, American folk art and quirky curiosities like an American Civil War surgeon’s saw.

The Glass Room by Simon Mawer


October 1st, 2009

Mawer’s The Glass Room is a genuine intellectual achievement—a breath-taking story of love and its loss, of art and lost art, of wars lost and then won and lost again, of rich gentleman Jews and Jews lost to Nazi madness. His broad canvas covers the decades of Mittel-European horrors that began in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s. The themes are familiar, but treated in a fresh and stimulating, not to say disturbing, way.

Photographs from Havana Deco


December 18th, 2007

A photographic essay: Art Deco in Havana, Cuba.

An Interview With Louis Kahn Biographer Carter Wiseman


June 15th, 2007

“I think the most powerful common thread running through Kahn’s work was his humanity. He seems to have believed deeply in the idea that humankind is perfectible, and that architecture could play a role in that.”

Richard Lanham Discusses the “Attention Economy”


April 3rd, 2007

“All around us we see signs of this confusion. Americans are often called a “materialistic” people and we certainly are surrounded by material possessions and revel in them. But at the same time, the “real world” of physical location seems to be evaporating before our eyes.”

An Interview With Architect Charles Jencks


April 3rd, 2007

“Narcissism? Culture in decline? It’s the whole world. Venice was narcissistic, full of iconic buildings, and declined for 500 years, but was still the most pleasant city to live in for much of this time.”

Architecture and Modernism


March 26th, 2007

For Le Corbusier, true, great architecture – meaning, architecture motivated by the quest for efficiency – was more likely to be found in a 40,000-kilowatt electricity turbine or a low-pressure ventilating fan. It was to these machines that his books accorded the reverential photographs which previous architectural writers had reserved for cathedrals and opera houses.

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