2.18.2004

New Brutalism

http://thenewbrutalism.blogspot.com/

Stephanie Young on:
http://www.litvert.com/cubreportoaklandnewbrutal.html

My guess is that I'm going to say that while the self-named new brutalists are in fact a network of post-avant SF-based poets, as Ron Silliman says, (i.e., There are characteristics the new brutalism writers share which are not "neobrutalist"),

I would define a "New Brutalism" -- using the term descriptively -- for a different group of poets. I have a problem with the opt-in "movements" after the older ones -- I think the vast majority of movements in the past and currently are either academic grandstanding or copycat post post post post surrealism.

I would center my definition of new brutalism on brutalist architecture, and identifying what, 40 years later ("new" [label] time) has brought it back in another field as a label. The word itself is mega-odd ("Oh you brute."); masculine and mysogynist both. It is correctly rooted in "appropriation" of forms -- from other fields into architecture, structural items, not decoration, borrowed from cultural artifacts, not other building forms. My first experience with brutalist architecture was the sense that the theary was quite defensible, tolerant, open -- "it is built this way so that the building shields itself from the sun, conserving energy in this hot climate," for example, or protecting people entering and exiting from the rain -- and then you ended up with these terrible eyesores like the UC San Diego main library, Boston City Hall, the Yale school of architecture --

brutalism itself is a pre-deconstruction (or even parallel in time) postmodernism

brutalism is a style associated most closely with institutional buildings -- it is closed, the windows do not open -- it does have some resemblances to whatever a revival style of fascist architecture would look like; brutalism is like all of the design mistakes Mies ever made lumped together with all of Le Corbusier's into a lumpy concrete building --

[insert pages of proofs -- both circumstantial (recent critical publication vis a vis fascist architectures) and actual (close readings of hundreds of pages of absolutely gorgeous poetry)]

I believe a correctly-labeled post - avant poetry called new brutalism would be after Barrett Watten.

What's odd about this is that I like his art, and (see brutalist rant above, implied pc dislike of fascist architecture, too) don't like the art I know that the label describes, only its theory. Hmmm. More & more rigorous thinking due here, as always.




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