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Modernism Under Review: Reyner Banham's Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (1960)

Modernism Under Review: Reyner Banham's Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (1960) This essay reconsiders Reyner Banham's classic study of early twentieth-century architecture and design, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, originally published in 1960. Banham surveyed the architecture, design, and visual arts of the first machine age, characterized by industrial production and motorized transportation, from a self-consciously thematized perspective within the second machine age, populated by expendable consumer technologies and images. This revisionist perspective enabled Banham to challenge long-standing myths propagated by the dominant figures of the modern movement. In his polemical emphasis on the contingency and plurality of that which had empirically transpired in first machine age, Banham rejected the reduction of the messy history of the modern movement to the victory of a putative international style. Banham reasserted the intimate connection of architectural modernism with the avant-garde artistic movements of the 1910s and 20s, emphasizing particularly the most radical ones such as expressionism, futurism, and dadaism. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Modernism Under Review: Reyner Banham's Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (1960)

Modernist Cultures , Volume 12 (3): 14 – Nov 1, 2017

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2017.0177
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This essay reconsiders Reyner Banham's classic study of early twentieth-century architecture and design, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, originally published in 1960. Banham surveyed the architecture, design, and visual arts of the first machine age, characterized by industrial production and motorized transportation, from a self-consciously thematized perspective within the second machine age, populated by expendable consumer technologies and images. This revisionist perspective enabled Banham to challenge long-standing myths propagated by the dominant figures of the modern movement. In his polemical emphasis on the contingency and plurality of that which had empirically transpired in first machine age, Banham rejected the reduction of the messy history of the modern movement to the victory of a putative international style. Banham reasserted the intimate connection of architectural modernism with the avant-garde artistic movements of the 1910s and 20s, emphasizing particularly the most radical ones such as expressionism, futurism, and dadaism.

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Nov 1, 2017

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