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Trellick Tower from below...

Brutalism – the ever-controversial, predominantly (but certainly not exclusively) British take on modernist architecture – has been kickstarting tenuously-topical debate yet again.  I already made a brief foray into the comments section on the following Guardian article, but in the days since I’ve realised there’s a wider cultural question I could raise that sits neatly enough within the raison d’etre of this here blog…

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The very, very first in a regular series:

Who?  Charles Sheeler

What?  Ballardvale

Where?  Dulwich Picture Gallery

When?  On show as part of the small-but-fascinating Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s to 1950s until 8 June 2008.

Why?  Because I took home a postcard of this having seen the exhibition recently and every time I’ve looked at it since the colours seem more perfect and the angles more dynamic.  Not a powerful picture as such, but an incredibly assured one. 

And an exhibition that is well worth seeing by the way, tracing America’s emergence as an ‘art power’, following the dramatic influence of the European avant garde, and ending up with New York effectively overtaking Paris.  A little extra exposition on the walls would not have been unwelcome though.

 

For reasons that may or may not become clear as we proceed, the following quote seemed as good a place as any to kick this whole thing off from…  Although much-referenced, it has not been easy to find comprehensive links, but some are provided below.  Let’s be honest though, the words speak entirely for themselves:

These ambiguities, redundancies, and deficiencies recall those attributed by Dr. Franz Kuhn to a certain Chinese encyclopedia called the Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge.

In its distant pages it is written that animals are divided into:

(a) those that belong to the emperor;

(b) embalmed ones;

(c) those that are trained;

(d) suckling pigs;

(e) mermaids;

(f) fabulous ones; Read the rest of this entry »

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