In an insightful, accessible study, Walker and Simo trace the evolution of landscape architecture in this country, highlighting the years from 1925 to 1975. The authors examine notable work by such seminal figures as Frederick Law Olmsted and by others like Hideo Sasaki, who continue to influence the field today. They also provide a lively account of the training and philosophical underpinnings motivating these artists for whom the landscape has often functioned as their canvas, albeit a spatial one. To identify and define modernism in American landscape architecture, Walker and Simo isolate formal elements that appear in outstanding examples of landscape art and which provide links with art movements of the period (such as surrealism and constructivism). Their search has led them to a very readable exploration of this modern period, with all its myriad forms of landscape design. Alice Joyce
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Invisible Gardens: The Search For Modernism in the American Landscape is a composite history of the individuals and firms that defined the field of landscape architecture in America from 1925 to 1975. The major protagonists include Thomas Church, Roberto Burle Marx, Isamu Noguchi, Luis Barragan, Daniel Urban Kiley, Stanley White, Hideo Sasaki, Ian McHarg, Lawrence Halprin, and Garrett Eckbo. Invisible Gardens look at unbuilt schemes as well as actual gardens, ranging from tiny backyards and play spaces to urban plazas and corporate villas. The result is a record of landscape architecture's cultural contribution during the years when it was acquiring professional status and struggling to define a modernist aesthetic out of the startling changes in postwar America. Invisible Gardens will prove a fascinating historical survey to anyone with an interest in private or public gardens and the development of landscape architecture. -- Midwest Book Review