Articles on Modernism

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John Lander Browne’s hillside house at Church Point might have been Sydney’s first notable postwar interpretation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic principles. Max Dupain (c.1948)

How the ‘Sydney School’ changed postwar Australian architecture

Sydney Schools weren't actually schools, but houses that embraced the native Australian landscape, and reacted to international modernism.
Over the last hundred years, there have been at least three major waves of ‘progressive’ education in Ontario. Here, Premier Doug Ford with Finance Minister Vic Fedeli after presenting the 2019 budget at the legislature on April 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Welcome to the latest wave of ‘modernizing,’ ‘progressive’ school reforms in Ontario

The Progressive Conservative government's call to modernize education invokes long-standing rhetoric about progressive education in paradoxical ways.
Paul Signac, ‘Leaving the Port of Marseille’ 1906/7 oil on canvas, 46 x 55.2 cm, The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Inv GE 6524. Photo: © The State Hermitage Museum 2018, Vladimir Terebenin.

Modern Art from The Hermitage showcases the French gems of two great merchant collectors

In the early 20th century, two families of collectors brought the best of modern French art to Russia. Many of their paintings - including works by Picasso, Matisse and Cezanne - can now be seen in Sydney.
Cities were once considered a source of many problems. But that vision has changed over the last generation. Graeme Roy

Our changing views of the city: A new urban celebration

Our current celebration of cities is a big shift from the past generation when cities were seen to contain all of our problems. Should we believe the hype? Are the new ideas equally problematic?
A photograph of Penn Station’s interior from the 1930s. Bernice Abbott

Remembering America’s lost buildings

We asked five architecture experts to name one building or structure they wish had been preserved, but couldn't resist the tides of decay, development and discrimination.
Detail from Katsushika Hokusai, The great wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki namiura), (1830–34), from the Thirty-six views of Mt Fuji (Fugaku-sanjū-rokkei) National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Felton Bequest, 1909 (426-2)

Friday essay: from the Great Wave to Starry Night, how a blue pigment changed the world

Hokusai's Great Wave is the enduring image of Japanese art. Less well known is the story of its primary pigment - Prussian blue - which was created in a lab accident in Berlin and sparked 'blue fever' in Europe.
Andrew Wyeth stands by a creek on his Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania property in 1964. AP Photo/Bill Ingraham

Andrew Wyeth and the artist’s fragile reputation

His rise was just as swift as his fall. To mark the painter's 100th birthday, an art historian explores the forces – cultural, political and personal – that created a polarizing legacy.
Carl Rahl’s Orestes Pursued by the Furies (1852). Wikimedia

Guide to the classics: Christina Stead’s The Beauties and Furies

The tale of a married woman who joins her lover in Paris, The Beauties and Furies is a modernist classic. Like Joyce's Ulysses, the action is concentrated in one city, but dreams are nightmarish in this city of night, not light.
The African Union laboratory in Nansana, a suburb of Kampala, Uganda. Ikko Kobayashi and Fumi Kashimura/Terrain-Architects

Ugandan architects struggle with the dilemma of what’s appropriate

There is a growing trend of designing modernised replicas of traditional buildings for entertainment and tourism. That’s no way to salvage positive lessons from building traditions.
In order to support his young family, William Faulkner took a job shoveling coal at a power plant on Ole Miss’s campus. Mussklprozz/Wikimedia Commons

Under the spell of a generator’s thrum, a Faulkner masterpiece was born

Slated to be demolished this year, a crumbling brick building on Ole Miss' campus once operated as a power plant where novelist William Faulkner shoveled coal – and feverishly wrote.

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