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Comment on modern ugliness

17 Jul

@Bub, Will,
So why did those new styles die out, and modern crap take over?

What happened? Other than the obvious, that somewhere along the line, artists and architects lost their visions…

They didn’t. The book that covers this is Here’s the Deal. It talks about the economics of raising modernist glass boxes at the preferred housing form in Chicago. You could make a LOT of money if you didn’t have to clad your building in expensive brick or stone and pay bricklayers or stonemasons.

There’s a second book to read: J H Kunstler’s The Geography of Nowhere. The modernists, including the execrable Bauhaus, were disdained by both the Nazis and the Stalinists. Ergo, modernism is opposed by the two major tyrannies of the age, and so is anti-totalitarian. It was a neat trick to pull off. Except: Hitler trained as an artist. Just because he was a mass-murdering megalomaniac doesn’t mean that his artistic sense was off. He did, after all, love Wagner.

In a nutshell: “anti-fascism” has served as cover for the crony capitalists to put up crappy, energy-inefficient glass boxes that have no adornment. Public beauty is privatized for profit.

Kunstler also has an interesting idea, relevant to Patriarchy. The US victory in WW2 was such an achievement for men that they used a benighted unbenevolent dictator attitude everywhere. Their “father knows best” doctors inoculated and circumcised their way through a generation. They abandoned walkable cities for isolated suburbs, because women like Catherine Beecher, a spinster, imagined that women wanted little private houses with gardens. They built rectilinear buildings with no natural elements (brick, stone) and no curvy parts like arches, part of the Western architectural vernacular for thousands of years; in other words, modernism is male triumphalism made literally concrete. There is no feminine element in modernist buildings, and the alienating metal and glass extend a middle finger to the “woman” we used to call “Mother Nature.”

Women prefer to live in communities, not isolated on little islands where each is disconnected from the other and has to “row” a car to get to shared space; this, I believe, is what created the “problem with no name” of Betty Friedan. Lord forgive me for writing this, but the feminist movement, reacting against this antisocial modernist movement, was actually a GOOD THING in pointing out its failures. The fact that we were moving to a pyramid-structured society meant that feminism did not restore community, but was used by Apex Alphas to secure access to young, hot, fertile women, and deny most lower-on-the-hierarchy men wives (recall: you cannot turn a whore into a housewife.)

Modernism is the pathological, “Aloof Asshole” Alpha mentality, displayed in built form.

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11 Comments

Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

11 responses to “Comment on modern ugliness

  1. DictatorialJay

    July 17, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    And we all know the way to correct this nonsense now don’t we. Cough, cough!

     
  2. Will S.

    July 17, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    @ EA: Interesting; thanks for this.

     
  3. allamagoosa

    July 17, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Ah, Modernist architecture, where Frank Lloyd Wright was the only person of any interest. Well, actually there are a handful of buildings done by other designers that aren’t glass and concrete egg crates, but they all mostly look weird.

    It seems like in this period people were either building isolated houses or completely preplanned communities which were colossal failures. The balance seems to be highly important, stuff within walking distance, but you still have to go outside to get to it.

     
  4. Will S.

    July 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    I too like Frank Lloyd Wright, from what I know of his work.

    Indeed, I think geography of one’s work as related to where one lives should be factored in…

    I’ve invited the brainy and arts-oriented folks from Uncouth Reflections to share their thoughts (they often focus on architecture); I hope to hear from them.

     
  5. Blowhard, Esq.

    July 18, 2014 at 2:41 am

    Why did modernism — in art, architecture, literature, and other arts — take over? I dunno, not really sure. The theories offered here seems plausible. Even the standard explanation, the intellectuals’ disgust of nationalism and searching for new “universals” to unite people (remember that architectural modernism was originally called the “International Style”) makes sense. Tom Wolfe’s “From Bauhaus to Our House” is a good primer on the early history of the subject.

    I guess the more important question for me is why — after decades of this nonsense — people still accept it. Why don’t more people care? There’s a healthy skepticism towards modernist literature and gallery art, stuff that people can easily avoid, but people still accept the same glassy-steely, swoopy po-mo crap year after year; buildings they have to contend with and negotiate on a daily basis. Why do you think more people aren’t interested in this subject?

     
    • Will S.

      July 18, 2014 at 8:51 am

      Thanks for commenting, Blowhard, Esq.!

      The weirdo swoopy shit is at least marginally more visually appealing than the glass and steel rectangular block monstrosities, but it’s annoying in its own right, I do agree…

      I have a crazy thought, but let me share it anyway: might it be that people have the courage to speak out against objects that are close in scale to themselves like gallery art, or literature which is in books (which are smaller than themselves), in part because they are on a scale they can relate to, whereas buildings are so much bigger, that they somehow subconsciously feel intimidated?

      Or maybe it’s that they only notice stuff on the smaller scale, and ignore the bigger scale things like architecture, just see it as background…

      I dunno; just tossing out some crazy thoughts that just occurred to me. 🙂

       
      • Blowhard, Esq.

        July 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm

        >>might it be that people have the courage to speak out against objects that are close in scale to themselves like gallery art, or literature which is in books (which are smaller than themselves), in part because they are on a scale they can relate to, whereas buildings are so much bigger, that they somehow subconsciously feel intimidated?

        I think that’s a good hunch. A similar thought has occurred to me. I think for a lot of people, buildings are part of the landscape, like the mountains. Mountains can be pretty or ugly, but there’s not much sense in getting worked up about them. So people look at a new skyscraper, shrug, and move on.

         
  6. Aurini

    July 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    “Lord forgive me for writing this, but the feminist movement, reacting against this antisocial modernist movement, was actually a GOOD THING in pointing out its failures.”

    There is no guilt in admitting when our enemies make a valid point. On the one hand, Conservatism vs Liberalism describes a distinct fight between two types of people; on the other hand, most of the battles they fight are synthetic, and they often switch sides.

    Sanity lies in remaining Conservative in disposition, while rising above the petty squabbles which the political sphere uses to distract us.

     
  7. Will S.

    July 18, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    @ Blowhard: You articulated what I was fumbling about, trying to say, exactly: that such is just part of the ‘landscape’, the ‘backdrop’, for many people, and so they don’t give much thought to it…

     
  8. weak stream

    July 21, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    The great totalitarian mass murderers like Hitler and Stalin loathed modernism as well as any other contemporary art but for reasons that not many understand. That Hitler went to art school (or anyone else, for that matter) means nothing. There are always failed art movements throughout history. Real artists tend to take something of value away from most of them, however. Think of the punk movement and then the eventual greatness of the Police, Blondie, the Clash, the Cars and many others. If you really want to understand what happens to artists under a totalitarian regime, I highly recommend reading “The Captive Mind” by Czeslaw Milosz. Also understand that there is no possibility of becoming a great artist by regugitating artistic ideas from bygone eras.

     

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