Sunday, 18 December 2011


On "Eames: The Architect and the Painter": This creative couple at Eliel Saarinen’s Cranbrook outside Detroit actually did what the German Bauhaus merely promised to do. Oddly, two penniless German immigrants, neither of whom could afford to finish high school, never mind architecture school, Albert Kahn (Detroit) and Timothy Pflueger (San Francisco) became the architectural innovators parallel to the Eames pioneering in industrial design.

That we mostly don’t know this can be blamed on Philip C. Johnson who spent too long a career corrupting American architectural discourse with his phoney branding of “the International Style” for New York’s MOMA. The Cleveland parvenu Johnson argued only Art mattered in architecture, ignoring the client’s needs. He mocked his Harvard teacher Walter Gropius in private letters for being obsessed with building for the “working classes.” Barry Bergdoll is discovering that PCJ’s error.

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