I realize that I'm simplifying. But I'm not oversimplifying.I'm stating flatly what hasn't been stated flatly enough, or oftenenough with emphasis. But then the primacy of value judgment inart criticism used to be taken so much as a matter of course thatit didn't have to be stated, much less stated emphatically. Thelast great art critics I'm aware of--Julius Meier-Graefe and RogerFry--simply assumed it, just as E.D. Hirsch's literary criticsdid. And it is still assumed, as far as I can see, in music andarchitectural criticism, and in literary reviewing as distinctfrom "serious" literary criticism, as it isn't in artcriticism or even art reviewing. Which is why I don't feel I'mlaboring the obvious when I harp on the primacy of value judgmentin the present context. Didn't the late Harold Rosenberg say thatTaste was an "obsolete concept"? Didn't another reputableart critic refer recently to the weighing of the quality of specificworks of art as "art mysticism"?
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Kenneth frampton is an internationally respected architectural critic who holds the ware professorship in architecture at columbia university, new york
*E.D. Hirsch, Jr. in (14 June 1979): "Ever since Plato, literary theory has concerned itself almost exclusively with the problem of value, e.g., 'Are the ancients better than the moderns?' 'Are standards of judgment universal?' You can read through virtually all the major works of the important literary critics before the twentieth century without finding an extended discussion of the problem of interpretation. In Britain, writers like Sidney, Pope, Hume, Johnson, Coleridge, and Arnold ... asked of a piece of writing, 'Is it good?' or 'Why is it good?' rather than 'What does it mean?'
"By contrast, ever since the revolution begun by the New Critics during the 1940s, and the enormous increase in the numbers of academic interpreters over the past forty years, the question of value has fallen into the background. . . ."
Vatican City: Biblioteca aspostolica vaticana, 1954; [collected essays and selected bibliography:] Distance Points: Essays in Theory and Renaissance Art and Architecture.
The same could be claimed of Colquhoun’s approach to architecture.Alan Colquhoun, born 27 June 1921, died 13 December 2012.Published May 2013
After a monograph on Florentine culture, L’Architettura dell’Umanesimo, 1969, the second of his broad Marxist salvos, Progetto e Utopia, appeared in 1973, a historical assessment of architecture’s relationship with capitalist development since the eighteenth century.
Tafuri attended courses by, among others, , who was appointed chair of art history at Rome in 1959--the year of Tafuri's graduation--and the Marxist philosopher Galvano della Volpe (1895-1968). Tafuri supported the student actions that resulted in the reformist appointments of Luigi Piccinato (1899-1983), Ludovico Quaroni (1911-1987) and to the faculty in 1963 and 1964. He taught as an assistant to Quaroni, maintaining an architectural practice (in the Architetti e Urbanisti Associati) and supporting the ‘counter-school’ Associazione Studenti e Architetti.
Original issues of the magazine published between 1965 and 1970 will be displayed; a period when a group of influential Austrian architects and artists including Hans Hollein, Walter Pichler, Günther Feuerstein and Oswald Oberhuber, took over its editorship. The seminal architect Peter Cook, founder of experimental group Archigram and former ICA Director discussed the period around the exhibition last June 19, in an event held in the ICA. Speakers included architectural historian Dr. Eva Branscome and the discussion was chaired by Prof. Murray Fraser.
Tafuri's innovative book subjects continued with La città americana and Via Giulia (a book of a Roman street) in 1973, the latter with and Luigi Spezzaferro, and regularly contributed to the American journal Oppositions as well as the European journals Casabella, Domus, and L’Architecture d’aujourd’hui.
Tafuri’s masterwork on this period, Ricerca del rinascimento (1992) revisited the Renaissance foundations of modern architecture, addressing architecture as an institution, tradition and technique.
Tafuri was one of the first professional (academic) architectural historians in Italy. His opinions, always strongly argued, have been criticized for being uneven, perhaps a result of his constant revision of them. For example, he praised Le Corbusier's architecture in Algiers, but despaired Corbusier's Chandigarh work.
Described by his contemporary Reyner Banham as ‘one of the guardians of the intellectual conscience of his generation of London architects’, Colquhoun brought an intellectual rigour to the revaluation of the modern movement.