Category Archives: Art and design

Blake on Corbu’s “furniture”

Peter Blake, modernist architect, critic and (eventually) apostate, writes about “functional” modernist furniture in his book Le Corbusier: Architecture and Form (1960), which I’m reading as a sort of launching pad to his book Form Follows Fiasco (the best book … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Art and design, Interior Design | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Review: “Pollak’s Arm”

Pollak’s Arm, a historical novel by Hans von Trotha, is not about Pollak’s arm but about the arm his protagonist, art collector Ludwig Pollak, found, which had been missing for centuries from the shoulder of Laoco├Ân (pronounced lay-o-coo-on), the central … Continue reading

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The architecture of ballet

On Father’s Day we took in “Emergence,” a maskless program by Festival Ballet Providence celebrating the ongoing state of unlockingdown in which American society, at long last, finds itself. It was an excellent show. To my mind, the spare setting … Continue reading

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Bad language/bad buildings

There is a difference between language and architecture. Language, to riff off the saying attributed to Talleyrand, aims to disguise the absence of thought; whereas architecture aims to express the thoughtlessness of fatuous design. The critic Theodore Dalrymple, a retired … Continue reading

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O’Brian’s game of composers

Having just had a capital meal of lasagna to celebrate a removal of sutures from the gap left by an extracted tooth, I am reminded of a passage I marked years ago in Patrick O’Brian’s The Nutmeg of Consolation, 1991, … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Art and design, Books and Culture | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A draftsman in watercolor?

My wife, Victoria, sent me a Facebook post by Mario A. Pita, a son of Cuban refugees who resides in Arlington, Va., and who enjoys posting artists’ work on their birthdays. The birthday of watercolorist James Holland (1799-1870) fell just … Continue reading

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Before the London fire, 1666

An engraver by trade, John Thomas Smith trod this earth two centuries ago (1766-1833), and was also known as “Antiquity Smith.” He etched buildings in London that had survived the Great Fire of 1666, many of which were being demolished … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture History, Art and design, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Inking “Old Curiosity Shop”

In recent days I’ve received a veritable flood of emails of about architectural drafting and illustration, the first regretting the disappearance of the tools of that trade, the others a succession of excellent examples. I’m not sure all of the … Continue reading

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Creative capitulation in Prov

In recent decades, art in Providence has served as a wrecking ball aimed not just at beauty but at the very concept of art, in a city that depends on art for its historical character, even as it brands itself … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Art and design, Providence | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Gehry Ike in its kitschy glory

Frank Gehry’s monument to hims– oops, I mean to Dwight Eisenhower, does not open to the public until this Sept. 18, pushed back by the pandemic from May 8, the 75th anniversary of his victory in the European theater of … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Art and design, Preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments