Today’s News - Thursday, May 24, 2018

EDITOR'S NOTE: A special Biennale di Venezia section today makes us molto triste (all the more sad) that we're not there! In the meantime, tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days - we'll be back Tuesday, May 29

●  ANN feature: Author and curator Clearwater is quite taken with "Appearances & Disappearances," showcasing Mazinani and Khayyat at NYC's North of History gallery, that erases the distance of time and place by bringing us face-to-face with the violence of the two women's past, which shapes their present - as well as our own.

●  Kuma makes clear that, "despite its price tag," the £80.1 million V&A Dundee "will prove value for money" (and criticizes architects like Gehry and Foster "for designing buildings that satisfied their egos").

●  Massengale visits four European cities that "build streets for people," offering lessons that American cities should heed - walking should be "the new driving."

●  Speck offers his vision for Riverside station in Newton, Massachusetts, that is an ideal site for "planning goals of smart growth, transit-oriented development, walkability, and housing attainability."

●  More is not necessarily better when it comes to lighting cities, and "lighting designers are fighting back on behalf of darkness and night - we ought to let night be night."

Weekend diversions:

●  Fairs flies through Dezeen's new documentary "Elevation" that explores "both the positive and negative implications of a future when drones are as 'ubiquitous as pigeons'" - with link to (the rather scary) trailer.

●  On a brighter note, PBS premieres "Great Performances: The Opera House," a documentary that "surveys the Metropolitan Opera House's rich history and a time of great change for New York City," when "Robert Moses, the unstoppable city planner, bulldozed an entire neighborhood," and Wallace Harrison's "quest for architectural glory was never fully realized."

●  Owen Hopkins, curator at Sir John Soane's Museum, now hosting "The Return of the Past: Postmodernism in British Architecture," parses "why postmodern architecture is making a comeback. What was once maligned, vilified, and written off as the cultural embodiment of everything that was wrong with 1980s, is now, remarkably, undergoing a critical reassessment" (great read).

●  Foster co-curates a retrospective at the Triennale di Milano, "Osvaldo Borsani": "Borsani may have died over 30 years ago, but the Italian modernist architect is definitely having a moment" (lots of great images!).

Oh, to be in La Serenissima per La Biennale di Venezia!

●  Sean Griffiths pens a must-read, pondering "is the era of the architect-personality finally coming to an end? And should we care? Today, the architect's role often amounts to little more than window-dressing for marketing purposes" (Szacka's "Exhibiting the Postmodern: The 1980 Venice Architecture Biennale" is a must-read "brilliant book").

●  Frearson has a great Q&A with Biennale curators Farrell and McNamara, who "urge architects to be optimistic about the importance of their work"; they're "using the Venice Biennale to celebrate the gifts that architects give for free, such as the public spaces."

●  Mairs parses five "topics likely to dominate conversation" at the Biennale, ranging from "lessons from social housing" to "how sex can shape a city" and "walls that create segregation."

●  Kamin parses Chicagoans (and others) takes on "Dimensions of Citizenship": "Watch out, Donald Trump! The U.S. pavilion takes aim at the 'us' and 'them' mentality behind the president's" border wall.

●  Loos's take on the U.S. Pavilion: 7 exhibits "reach to the cosmos for inspiration" to "explore what it means to be a citizen of the universe."

●  Wainwright wonders: "Will this three-storey slice of British brutalism" [the "salvaged chunk of Robin Hood Gardens"] be the toast of Venice? Once its death warrant had been signed, wasn't it better to preserve a bit of it in some form? This is the charged debate that visitors to the Biennale will be forced to consider."

●  Heathcote hails the Irish Pavilion's "Free Market" that "concentrates on the slow death of the Irish town square. There is no grandstanding, no suggestion that radical architects could come in and solve everything - an entreaty to architects to think beyond their own shape- and myth-making."

●  Bernstein explains why the Vatican is making an appearance at Biennale: The Church "saw its participation as 'another step towards healing the rift between the spiritual and the secular'" - the 10 small chapels by international architects "will be moved to Italian towns damaged in earthquakes."

●  Lang takes a long look at "just how far Szacka's provocative book, 'Exhibiting the Postmodern: the 1980 Venice Architecture Biennale,' has permeated our consciousness" and how the 1980 edition "transformed architectural discourse."


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