'Joseph Masheck is the most imaginative art critic of his generation, one of the few art writers of any time or place whose work should and will be taken seriously by anyone interested in highly original writing. His prose is as bold in its experimentation, and refusal to settle into predictable patterns, as the best 'postmodernist' art. His great, to my mind almost unique, achievement is to rethink fundamental questions: How can a text describe a visual artwork? How can a commentator place such an artwork within its (historical arid social) culture? His erudition is amazing: his ear for prose-style is as unique as his 'eye' for original visual art. His writing is sheer magic.' – David Carrier, professor of philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University and author of Artwriting and Principles of Art History Writing
Adolf Loos: The Art of Architectureby Joseph Masheck
Widely regarded as one of the most significant prophets of modern architecture, Adolf Loos was a celebrity in his own day. His work was emblematic of the turn-of-the-century generation that was torn between the traditional culture of the nineteenth century and the innovative modernism of the twentieth. His essay 'Ornament and Crime' equated superfluous ornament and… See more details below
Widely regarded as one of the most significant prophets of modern architecture, Adolf Loos was a celebrity in his own day. His work was emblematic of the turn-of-the-century generation that was torn between the traditional culture of the nineteenth century and the innovative modernism of the twentieth. His essay 'Ornament and Crime' equated superfluous ornament and 'decorative arts' with tattooing in an attempt to tell modern Europeans that they should know better. But the negation of ornament was supposed to reveal, not negate, good style; and an incorrigible ironist has been taken too literally in denying architecture as a fine art. Without normalizing his edgy radicality, Masheck argues that Loos's masterful 'astylistic architecture' was an appreciation of tradition and utility and not, as most architectural historians have argued, a mere repudiation of the florid style of the Vienna Secession. Masheck reads Loos as a witty, ironic rhetorician who has all too often been taken at face value. Far from being the anti-architect of the modern era, Masheck's Loos is 'an unruly yet integrally canonical artist-architect'. He believed in culture, comfort, intimacy and privacy and advocated the evolution of artful architecture. This is a brilliantly written revisionist reading of a perennially popular architect.
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Meet the Author
Joseph Masheck, Professor of Art History at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, was editor-in-chief of Artforum in the late 1970s. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and, in 2006-10, Centenary Fellow of Edinburgh College of Art. Previous books include Building-Art: Modern Architecture Under Cultural Construction (1993), Marcel Duchamp in Perspective, 2nd ed. (2002); The Carpet Paradigm: Integral Flatness from Decorative to Fine Art (2010) Texts on (Texts on) Art (2011).
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