Monday, June 21, 2010

Public Art

A comment by Brandon on public art in the context of a library—see the post on “Libraries” below—reminded me of the delights I once experienced reading a book by Thomas Wolfe entitled From Bauhaus to Our House. The book is about architecture—and Thomas Wolfe at his best. It was published in 1981. I saw excerpts of it in Harper’s magazine and then, delighted, rushed to buy my own copy.

To become an architect had been my earliest childhood ambition. I used to have to take naps in my Grandmother’s formal living room. It was virtually unused and had a lot of books. Left to myself I used to sneak books from the shelf. One of these was an architectural tome filled with floor plans and drawings. It became a great favorite of mine, a book I consulted daily—and this before I'd even learned to read… As for my calling in life, things worked out differently, but my interest in architecture has remained. It was Tom Wolf who labeled public art the “turd in the plaza.” But reading that phrase, to be sure, was but an incidental pleasure to finding my own views of modern architecture acidly echoed by Wolfe’s theme, which was a critique of modernism in its architectural expression. I loved every word of it… The book is available from Amazon here.

1 comment:

  1. Ah Wolfe can write pure acid that is true!