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White Walls, Designer Dresses


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A brilliant and masterful work that forces one to reconsider essential aspects of modernities, obsessions, and representations. -- Mark Jarzombek, MIT Mark Wigley's book is a major challenge to the received history of twentieth-century architecture. Its brilliant inquiry into the exceptional role played by "whiteness" in modern design brings to light all the unexamined assumptions and rhetorical operations through which a certain image of the modern has become entrenched in architectural thought. A virtuoso reader of buildings and texts, Wigley shows how much had to be forgotten, finessed, or placed beyond question for the canonical histories of the modern movement to do their work. In the process, he brings the discussion of modern architecture to a new level of conceptual sharpness and historical self-awareness. -- Norman Bryson, Harvard University A brilliant and masterful work that forces one to reconsider essential aspects of modernities, obsessions, and representations. -- Mark Jarzombek, Associate Professor, History Theory Criticism Program, MIT Crucial issues are at stake in Mark Wigley's revision of the discourse about modern architecture. Wigley shows that the emblem of modernism's neutrality -- the white wall -- is inspearable from what that wall is traditionally assumed to transcend -- fashion. When the two are polarized, the white surface becomes an agent of white, masculine, heterosexual control. This book's importance extends beyond the discipline of architecture to all fields debating the question of "spatial politics," for Wigley reveals that authoritarian logic underpinning any discourse about space -- or any space of politics -- that claims to be outside fashion. -- Rosalyn Deutsche

About the Author

Mark Wigley is Professor of Architecture at Columbia University.


"White Walls, Designer Dresses is a sophisticated tour de force... exhaustively researched, beautifully illustrated material." - Katherine Shonfield, Blueprint

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