Johan Huizinga

Playing for Keeps

Cézanne’s Card Players Metropolitan Museum of Art Picasso: Guitars 1912-1914 Museum of Modern Art Play, beloved by Dadaists and self-described artistic renegades of all stripes, is as old as humankind, perhaps even older than work, to which it is inevitably opposed. For every liberal or radical or romantic who has embraced the spirit of play as a key to freedom, there is a conservative or a classicist who has emphasized the essential place of play in the stabilization of society and the disciplining of desires. For some, play equals anarchy. For others, play equals order.

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Glorious Misfits

Joaquín Torres-García: Constructing Abstraction with Wood San Diego Museum of Art Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective Tate Modern   Anne Truitt: Perception and Reflection Hirshhorn Museum   Formal values are personal values. What holds us in a painting or a sculpture is not art history but an individual’s history, some inner necessity or imperative that has been expressed through the forms available at a particular time. There are classicists and there are expressionists in every age, and the twentieth century was no exception.

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A FRIEND RECENTLY TOLD me that his most important pedagogical tool as an architect is this maxim: the architect's primary ethical responsibility is to be the guardian of the public realm, in contrast to the myriad others who currently configure our built landscape— clients, politicians, contractors, developers, and NIMBY-driven "community action" committees.

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