Monday, April 5, 2010

books and architecture and books on architecture.

andres serrano, piss christ, 1987

andres serrano is just one of many artists and illustrators discussed in s. brent plate's book entitled blasphemy: art that offends (black dog publishing). it was released in 2006, a decent-size art book with text that is easily readable... it was definitely interesting. every single image in the book has been considered offensive to someone at some time in history. it includes everything from early christian illuminated manuscripts to bansky, andres serrano's piss christ (a photograph which, at the time of its display, created an uproar in the united states government, calling censorship into question) to the demolition by the taliban of ancient bamiyan buddha statues.

this really is an excellent book. it's a pretty fascinating look at the concept of so-called blasphemous and sacreligious art. it discusses what blasphemy means to different cultures, their religions, and in different areas and eras. i was not personally offended by anything in this book. i'm not religious, so the concept of mixing capitalist imagery with religious imagery doesn't faze me as it might someone who was religious. the point is that it fazes a LOT of people, and this book sort of cracks the surface of why, not just how.

via contemporist

it's been a while since i've posted a house. i've looked at quite a few -- i even scored some back issues of residential architect magazine and architecture magazine at work the other day -- but this house just spoke to me. there's something to be said about the old being transformed into the new. i have an undying love for midcentury modern, as i've posted about before, and when houses from that era are remodeled i'm always really excited to see what they did. even more, i like when there is really old existing architecture and something ultra-modern is added on. i've noticed this moreso in u.k. and irish architecture -- their willingness to use the old, existing building and add on something that complements it without overshadowing it or ruining it altogether.

this particular house is in ballymahon, ireland. (see, there's something about those isles.) there's something particularly and wonderfully irish about this. maybe because the cottage-y aspect of it is not lost on the fact that this is brand-spankin'-new contemporary. odos architects designed this addition. they've done many projects -- the link is to their residential portfolio. there's a friary in there that's absolutely stunning... and while some of the houses look particularly irish to me, others are simply modern and stunning without looking like they belong only in the irish countryside. everything on their site is spectacular.

and last, but not least, i'm just about finished with this book, why architecture matters by paul goldberger (yale). it's a very concise, and at times personal, look at architecture and why it is important. plain and simple, and yet no less interesting. it's not a difficult read, not studded with architectural jargon that a person who hasn't studied architecture wouldn't understand -- the point is to give an overview about exactly what the title says, why architecture matters. why we need it, why we want it, why we love it and hate it and sometimes both at the same time. he discusses how it shapes us, how we expect it, how it impacts our daily lives. everything from the bicycle shed to chartres cathedral, it's here. and it's not too dry. very nice.

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