Professor James Stevens Curl, author of the pathbreaking Making Dystopia: The Strange Rise and Survival of Architectural Barbarism, will be visiting on our side of the pond to receive a Ross Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. He will hobnob with classicists at the University Club in New York City, and at the Union Club in Philadelphia as guest of that city’s ICAA chapter. Finally, he will deliver lectures in Washington, New Orleans, Denver and Boston. These lectures are open to the public; their dates and locations are listed below, with links to ICAA chapter websites for more information and reservations.
Professor Curl’s book has ignited controversy in Britain, where it was published last October by the Oxford University Press. Stevens Curl has spent some five decades writing books about architecture – erudite volumes describing, among other things, the culture of buildings associated with drinking, dying, pleasure gardens of London, Freemasonry, the erosion of Oxford, and many other architectural topics, plus the highly regarded OED Dictionary of Architecture – more than 40 books in all.
Here are the locations, dates and times of each public lecture on the tour:
- Washington, D.C. Friday, May 10. Lecture sponsored by the ICAA chapter and the National Civic Art Society, at the Cosmos Club, 2121 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Reception at 6 p.m., lecture at 7 p.m. For more information, click here.
- New Orleans. Monday, May 13. Lecture sponsored by the Louisiana chapter of the ICAA, at Tulane University, the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, 1725 Baronne St. Lecture at 6:30 p.m. For more information, click here.
- Denver, Tuesday, May 14. Lecture sponsored by the Rocky Mountain chapter of the ICAA, at the Denver University Club, 1673 Sherman St. Cocktails at 6 p.m., lecture at 6:30 p.m. For more information, click here.
- Boston, Thursday, May 16. Lecture sponsored by the New England chapter of the ICAA, at the College Club of Boston, 44 Commonwealth Ave. Lecture at 6 p.m. For more information, click here.
With the publication of Dystopia, heads are exploding among modernist architects and their allies in academia and the architectural media, whose long-protected secrets are exposed in the book. And on both sides of the pond, hope arises among tired members of the public that the Era of the Eyesore might be noticeably closer to its demise. Stevens Curl’s lecture tour hopes to expose the vacuity of the founding modernist ideas, the totalitarian connections of the founding modernists such as Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the participation of GM, the CIA and other institutions in the propaganda campaigns to turn Americans away from architecture they love and sucker them into putting up with what they hate, and some ideas for what can be done to bring sanity back to the once-proud profession of architecture and beauty back to our built environment: the reformation of the deformation, so to speak.
These are some of the themes of the book, whose cover is hot with anger at the villainies Professor Curl describes inside. In the cities he visits, he may be expected to offer a lively evening for those who attend his lectures.