"Smock energetically examines the legacy of the Bauhaus, a post-World War II German school of design founded by Walter Gropius to replace Victorian-era design with machine-age style. Citing embodiments of the famous dictums "form follows function," "truth to materials," and the linking commandment "less is more," Smock analyzes visual efficiency and modernism's appeal to reason, especially in architecture. He posits, however, that modern art stopped looking new in the 1970s, when architects sought more personal and fanciful forms of expression, becoming more showbiz in their orientation than aesthetic in their fusing of high and low culture. Smock concedes that the excesses of modernism include dogmatic solemnity, but he finds designers who rebound to be "flashy and ephemeral," and argues that their mannerist decor exerts its own tyranny. Highly politicized, amply illustrated with pencil sketches, and featuring a detailed annotated bibliography, Smock's short and lively book is long on controversy and ideas."— Whitney Scott, Booklist
" ... a lively account that finally confirms the ultimate importance of Bauhaus innovation." -- Dore Ashton, The Cooper Union
" ... it's concise, fun to read, and beuatifully illustrated ... For students, this book should help to inspire new interest and what Modernism was/is all about."
-- Scott Klinder, Cranbrook Academy of Art