Dirty truths of modernism

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 5.45.23 PM.png

Grazer Kunsthaus art museum in Graz, Austria. (Universalmuseum Joanneum)

Sometimes truth comes out of the mouths of babes. Other times it comes out of the mouths of potty. That does not make it any less true, and since truth on any topic is a rare commodity, Paul Joseph Watson’s pottymouth video “Why Modern Architecture SUCKS” commands attention, and respect.

Paul Joseph Watson has every reason to be angry, and so have we all if what he says is true, and every word is true. One need not accept his verdict on modern art in order to accept his verdict on modern architecture. His discourse thankfully includes clips from such generally less pottymouthed thinkers as Prince Charles, Roger Scruton and James Howard Kunstler. (Coincidentally, the latter two blurbed my new book Lost Providence.)

The video is up to date, with a brief segment on the latest modernist abomination, the Grenfell tower fire in London. But while he mentions the totalitarian Le Corbusier, he leaves out Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who tried to persuade Hitler that modern architecture was an appropriate stylistic template for the Third Reich. Architects never try to explain that away, they just ignore it. The photo above is a plug-ugly I had never seen before, the Grazer Kunsthaus art museum in Graz, Austria.

Toward the end of the video, Watson expresses this overarching truth about our era: “In an age of ugliness, a work of beauty is an act of defiance.” He concludes, “We must never accept ugliness as a form of beauty.” Enjoy.

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Video and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Dirty truths of modernism

  1. Kam Ki Bate says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about lothario.
    Regards

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish you the best with your book and other projects, and wish to express my appreciation for your kind words about my own book project.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A Subscriber says:

    Good video from an otherwise creepy guy, Dave – and after poking around through his other vids, you’ll excuse me while I go take a shower. I’ll hope, for his sake, that his internal venom won’t corrode what’s left of his heart.

    Otherwise, I’m always happy to see your posts – and it should go without saying that I trust your judgment in these matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. leveveg says:

    This is a stunning video, and I’ll try to translate the most important parts into Norwegian. Further that guy is perfect to perform such an angry message.

    In my holidays I’ll stay one month in the Philippines, and my holiday project is to photograph slum architecture of Cebu Iceland. This slum is of much higher value than the modernist slum found in Norway!

    By the way, the slum quarters of Cebu are “high standards” compared to Manila, not so overwhelming.

    It’s so sad, as we have the knowledge to create buildings and environments that support life: http://www.levevei.no/2013/10/episode-84-creating-built-environments-that-support-life/

    By the way, congratulations with your new book! Good someone document all the beauty that has been lost to the modernists slums.

    Inspiration for my project:

    – The Perfect Slum: http://theperfectslum.blogspot.no/2009/11/slum.html

    – Planet of Slums: https://books.google.no/books/about/Planet_of_Slums.html?id=FToaDLPB2jAC&redir_esc=y

    By the way, we have a stopover in Doha, one of the worst slums of the world in my view.

    Like

    • leveveg says:

      Oh, here are more books about slums: http://theperfectslum.blogspot.no/2017/05/books-about-slums.html

      Maybe I can make my own book some day? Like “The Beauty of Cebu Slums”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • leveveg says:

        Your book title “Lost Providence” even gave me inspiration for another photo book project this morning: “Den tapte grenda”.

        “Grend” means something like a branch, or a small community living along a small road, sticking out from a larger road. In Norway we only use the word for the countryside, while in Sweden they too use it for small, short streets.

        My “grend” had a very distinct character, I’ll even call it a distinct culture. But post-ww2 it was all lost, destroyed by the baby-boomers and technocrats. We had a memory walk along my “grend”, “Kronborgsætergrenda”, in May: http://permaliv.blogspot.no/2017/06/kulturvandring-2017-kronborgsetergrenda.html

        It was a wonderful walk, memorizing the greatness of my place and my forefathers. My past is surely something to be proud of!

        But my heart is full of sadness, as what we did with our proud heritage is NOTHING to be proud of.

        Anyway, thank you very much for the idea and title for a hopefully upcoming photo book project!

        Now I have two projects to aim for.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s