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© 2004 The Beast

 

I HATE YOU

By Donny Dobovich


Welcome to “I Hate You,” a column about various things I hate. I'm a very hateful person, so I never really run short of ideas.

This week, the unfortunate target of my seething hatred is a concept I will call “Art-chitecture.” This is the unholy crossbreeding of Modern Art and architecture. The past 50 years have provided a plethora of horrid examples.

Back in the old days, cities and towns grew organically to the needs of humans. Houses were built close together, and numerous shops, built up to the curb, lined busier streets. These places were nice and compact and people could walk short to moderate distance to get most places of any importance. This would all come to in end, in time.

First came modern art. For centuries and millennia, Art mirrored reality—or the reality that those with enough money to finance the greatest works felt it should represent. We had great Renaissance paintings that cast a vivid picture on what life may have looked like through the eyes of the period's nobility. Later on we had impressionism, a bit fuzzier and more abstract than the above, yet highly requisite of real talent to produce.

Then on the eve of the twentieth century, a bunch of starving Russian Jews decide to shake shit up in the world of art. They began to produce abstract representations of the hell and misery that everyday peasant life had been for thousands of years. Suddenly the meaning of art was no longer an interpretation of lifelike images. Now it could be whatever the artist or viewer wanted it to be. Fifteen intersecting lines with a big blob of paint in the middle could very well be supposed to represent a day on the farm, but through any normal person's eye look like goat's vomit, and both interpretations would be equally valid.

This opened up the world to a slew of untalented pretentious art-fucks creating awful works of sheer ugliness and feeling like the hottest shit on the planet. During the 1920s, a few Germans and Frenchmen of this type had the brilliant idea of designing buildings using the haphazard principles of modern art. In the dreams of this Bauhaus movement, cities would be filled with faceless steel towers with the architectural presence of a refrigerator box. One deranged modern architect by the name of Le Corbusier envisioned a city of self-contained towers, each surrounded by parkland. Each tower in “the park” would be designated for a separate use; one for living, another for working, and another for recreation. Our architectural fate was already sealing.

Then Hitler came along. Although a failed artist himself, he despised every aspect of modern art. He worshiped classical art and architecture of the Renaissance that emulated the great imperial traditions of the Greco-Roman period. Hitler felt that new, abstract forms of art were sub-human and depraved (his hatred of the Jews may have stemmed from this, since they were primarily responsible for inventing the art form).

Hitler put his art whims to law, banishing everything he saw as unfit from the Reich. The Bauhausers all fled overseas, mostly to the United States.

Of course, Hitler's reign was short lived and things returned to normal after the war. But as a result, classical architecture became associated with Fascism and Totalitarianism. Which were decidedly out of style. The Bauhaus dudes got their way, and were able to see their dreams realized.

Look at any civic buildings built between 1950 and today. Most are ugly boxes that mistreat the streets they front with blank, aluminum walls. That is if they even front a street, as it has been in style to plop these blank megaliths in their own windswept plazas.

The twin towers that came down on 9/11 were themselves two faceless spires. Now, guess what they want to replace them with? More faceless spires, and a cheap height-record breaking needle which looks like it’s already falling over. [See Exhibit A.]

How about Seattle's new public library, [Exhibit B], a mutated tech-box that screams of the triumph of machine over man? A pretentious artiste jerk-fest if you ask me.

Don't think for a moment that Buffalo has been left out of this loop. We have plenty of ugly mutant buildings. The Erie County Public library is a soulless grey box that spits on it's majestic, Gothic predecessor. The federal building is an Orwellian epic nightmare worthy of its own Phillip Glass score. One of my favorite buildings to hate is the Buffalo City Court, which resembles a parking ramp molded into a tower. That and it's ugly retarded twin, the Convention Center, are classified as the “Brutalist” style.

Oh, and just about everything in the suburbs is marred by the dehumanizing “art-chitecture,” mainly in the form of cheap Lego-style structures.

I don't hate modern art. Most ofit is God-awful, but the better shit conveys important messages, and opens new avenues of thought. I just hate it when it's applied to our built environment. What bugs me even more is that people like these monstrosities. Uggh to the child of Modern Art and Architecture, I hate you!

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