Desert Modernism

Published: 29 April 2015 at 14:00

Desert Modernism

A talk by Benet Spencer as part of the Fine Art Research Unit lecture series

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Wednesday 29 April 2015, 2.00pm
Ruskin 214

Taking the name of the mid-century architectural movement that focused on Palm Springs, California, this talk will consider different ways in which modernist art or architecture has responded to extreme locations. We will look at the land art of Michael Heizer, which seems to extend to megalomaniac proportions in his 40-year work in progress 'City', and described as a synthesis of ancient monuments, Minimalism and industrial technology within a single work that is nearly 2km long.

The luxury modernist houses from mid-20th Century Palm Springs will be considered, and particularly the work of architects Richard Neutra and Albert Frey. Also discussed will be aspects of installation art, town planning, science fiction, the grand projects of totalitarian regimes, and the on-going use of a modernist ethic, that has proved equally useful within liberalism, capitalism, fascism or Marxism.

Benet Spencer is Course Leader of the BA (Hons) Fine Art at Anglia Ruskin University.