foster and the starchitects


I like this title. It suggests the uncovering of a huge conspiracy, a moneymaking axis on a par with the military-industrial complex or the newer, more sinister military-entertainment complex (which sees the confluence of shoot-’em-up computer gaming and training soldiers to kill without compunction). Unfortunately – because, surely, we all love conspiracy theories – it is nothing of the kind. Instead it is a collection of essays, some very good, some less so, on the state of contemporary architecture and contemporary – particularly minimal – art. Hal Foster, a US art critic and author who writes for the London Review of Books, purports to reveal an alliance of the corporate and the cultural in an increasingly globalised world of contemporary visual culture. He backs this up by pointing to the ubiquity of big-name artists in homogenous new museums designed by an elite group of “starchitects”. It is an intriguing proposition and one, you would think, that could be bitingly critical. But Foster feels, perhaps, too much affection for his protagonists.

more from Edwin Heathcote at the FT here.