The Sphere and the Labyrinth: Avant-Gardes and Architecture from Piranesi to the 1970s

Manfredo Tafuri, Author, Pellegrino D'Acierno, Translator, Robert Connolly, Translator
Manfredo Tafuri, Author, Pellegrino D'Acierno, Translator, Robert Connolly, Translator MIT Press (MA) $52.5 (382p) ISBN 978-0-262-20061-5
Reviewed on: 06/26/1987
Release date: 07/01/1987
Instead of transforming reality, modern avant-garde artists, in Tafuri's tough judgment, are merely playing with techniques, their private dialogue a ""glass bead game.'' These difficult, wordy essays throw down a gauntlet to avant-garde movements in architecture, theater, painting, film and literature. This Venetian critic mocks today's New York architects who work in self-defined limbo to entertain a select public. He examines the ``total theater'' of such architects as Moholy-Nagy and Gropius, who envisioned a ``counter-city'' as a global alternative to the real. The essays make provocative connections between the arts, showing, for example, why Soviet film director Sergei Eisenstein saw Piranesi's drawings as a forerunner of new film language. These wide-ranging essays, moving from the cross-pollination of German and Soviet artists in Berlin of the 1920s, to the designs of architects like Venturi, Graves and Rossi, challenge an avant-garde that has lost its moorings in contemporary life. (September)
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