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Modern Times, by Ann Stephen, Philip Goad and Andrew McNamara

Mar 31, 2009
  • Article by Online Editor

Philip Goad’s essay ‘Shells, Spires and a Dome’ is fascinating, as are quite a few discreet items and discussions throughout Modern Times. Like the Powerhouse exhibition this book accompanies, however, there is a decided imbalance in representation. This is a great shame. It is also disappointing in light of the expectations engendered by the fabulously diverse Modernism and Australia of 2006 by the same editors. By speculating so heavily on influences into secondary arenas, that is, beyond the avant-garde of Australian art, architecture and primary design, the editors have created a pastiche of gently faded interpretation. The images, similarly faded, fail to inspire and make for a visually retiring book that records rather than celebrates. The architecture of Harry Seidler is explored thoroughly. Unfortunately this is to the exclusion of others, including Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin who each get little more than a mention. The Featherstons are represented well and the interview with Mary Featherston succinctly tells the story of young designers, not only making a mark, but also carrying that mark forward.
Publisher: The Miegunyah Press & Powerhouse Publishing
RRP: $49.95

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