4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610
This project is an argument on the nature of modernism in architecture and design. What is Modern argues that modernism is the style of the middle class. The manner in which they made a world for themselves allowed the middle-class to construct an alternative to both the agricultural landscape and feudal and religious cosmologies. The abstract, open space (as opposed to place) extended from the composed interior to the grids, extensions, and later sprawl of the urban environment. This book traces both the development of this space and its definition, elaboration, extension, and decoration.
Aaron Betsky is currently director of the Cincinnati Art Museum. Previously, he was director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (2001–06) and curator of architecture, design, and digital projects at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1995–2001). He also directed the 11th International Architecture Biennale in Venice (2008). Trained as an historian and an architect at Yale University (BA, 1979; MArch, 1983), he has worked as a designer, teacher, critic, lecturer, and author. He has written for both professional and popular journals; acted as visiting critic; and authored over a dozen books on architecture and design, including a monograph on James Gamble Rogers supported by the Graham Foundation (1988), and theoretical volumes such as Violated Perfection (1990), Building Sex (1995), Architecture Must Burn (2000), and Landscrapers (2002). His collected essays will be published by RMIT Press in 2011.
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