On Our Shelves Now
Modernism developed out of a bewildering array of movements and theories ranging from Cubism to Constructivism, abstraction to atonality. Starting out more as an attitude of mind than a conscious style, Modernism was a response to the need for the new and the different which was felt in the early twentieth century by intellectuals and artists throughout Europe. It became a phenomenon which was familiar to many but remained the preserve of the few, with such giants as Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius standing out as prime movers, and much activity centred around the Bauhaus as a focus of ideas in the 1920s. The turning-point came in 1932 when it was christened 'The International Style' at an exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Organized by Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson, this show changed the view of Modernist design and architecture forever, leading after the Second World War to its adoption as an almost universal style. Favoured initially by large corporations, it spread to speculative office and apartment blocks and appeared throughout the world from Tokyo to Rio de Janeiro. In the 1970s, however, the mood changed. Modernism's claims to authority came to be seen as suspect and by the 1980s the ideas of deconstruction and Postmodernism occupied centre stage and dominated new design. Today, however, Modernism is once again being reassessed and a neo-modernist trend is well underway. Until now, no book has examined the story of Modernism from its roots in the nineteenth century to the close of the twentieth century. This book shows for the first time how Modernist ideas were expressed in the visual arts, design, interiors, architectureand the decorative arts. It not only presents the outstanding movement in architecture and design of our century but also offers a genuine insight into how it came about.