The Integration Of The Arts
Theo Crosby (Pentagram)


Theo Crosby

©Theo Crosby

There is a certain irony in the fact that one of the first slogans of the Modern movement was 'the integration of the arts'. Certainly the pioneers of modern architecture loved art, and collected it, and were deeply influenced by the ideas of form explored by painters and sculptors at the turn of the century. Early modern buildings often contained a great deal of art. New modern buildings invariably have none. To find out why this is so, is a very nice problem, with roots in the 19th century and implications that illuminate many contemporary attitudes. We have come, from a very complex architecture to a very elementary expression, and it is not altogether surprising that our customers do not like the noble simplicities we strive for.


Dissatisfaction With The Environment. West London

©Theo Crosby

In fact they are quick to supply the necessary adjustments to what architects would consider very respectable, or at least respect-worthy buildings. This response is not a simple vandalism or political protest, but stems from a deeper dissatisfaction with our environment - or as they say in the papers, the building of the new barbarism. That is a taunt that goes perilously near the truth, and there are many references in Ruskin and Morris over 100 years ago, to the healthy and refreshing barbarism that would wash all their troubles away, and bring in the new art and the new architecture. They expected however, a new totality to appear in which art and architecture would come together in the same organic way as in the Middle Ages.

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