From Publishers Weekly
One of the century's major architects receives a thorough, beautiful and masterfully documented treatment in this pair of massive books prompted by a pair of linked New York exhibits, at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, which run through September. After adding the magisterial "van der Rohe" of his maternal grandfather to his name, Ludwig Mies (1886-1969) built up an impressive record of angular houses and advanced theories in Germany before he fled to America in 1938. Once here, he perfected the spacious, modernist, glass-and-steel structures that brought fame to his International Style among them New York's Seagram Building and Chicago's Illinois Institute of Technology a style also championed and promulgated by the young Phillip Johnson. MoMA's first Mies show, in 1947, cast him as a hero of abstracts and absolutes. The new volume on his Berlin years, by contrast, aims to humanize the architect and to show him responding to his times. Here are dozens of blueprints and drawings some never built along with photographs of his early houses (some predating WWI). Here, too, are essays from nine scholars and critics about his urban theory, about Berlin's early skyscrapers and about Mies's relations with dada, the movies, Prussia and philosophy. The attractive book on his American work may have slightly broader appeal: essays and photo spreads here focus on Mies's U.S. colleagues and collaborations, and on his interactions with Chicago; 10 essayists contribute, among them Rem Koolhaas (S, M, L, XL), who plans an addition to Mies's IIT. The Berlin volume boasts 200 full-color, 150 duotone and 166 b&w images; its American companion offers 141 color and 499 b&w. (Sept.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
TERRENCE RILEY is chief curator of the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
BARRY BERGDOLL is an associate professor in the Department of Art History at Columbia University in New York City.