Modern Library: Fall Update
November 20, 2010
The great variety of topics and formats of books offered this season, by academic and trade publishers alike, bodes well for research on the Modern Movement. Monographical treatments bring into view lesser-known architects (Rakatansky, Otto, Urban, Lapidus) and deepen our knowledge of central figures (Corbusier, Foster, Kahn, Perriand, Sterling). The geographic focus continues to expand (into colonial and third world countries); under-documented aspects of modern design are explored (the illumination of buildings); and forces affecting the movement’s reception (a store, the press, its own mythology) are thoughtfully examined.
For the visually minded, images abound. Leading the pack in sheer numbers are the Eames and Formasetti volumes, with more than 2,500 illustrations apiece. Period views of Las Vegas from the Venturi and Scott Brown archive (overlooked on the 2009 list) are joined this season by Robert Doisneau’s images of Palm Springs in all its mid-century glory and Marcel Gautherot’s photographs of Brasilia coming into being. These moments in modernism’s past pair nicely with contemporary views: photographer Iwan Baan revisits Brasilia on its 50th birthday and presents these images alongside recent views of Chandigarh. Similarly, Bärbel Högner’s trains her lens on Corbusier’s planned city and its legacy in contemporary Indian life.
As the holidays approach, it would appear that there’s something for everyone on the Modern Library booklist.
—Nancy Eklund Later