May 2021 Issue: Architecture
State v. Jahn:
The Thompson Center is dead, long live the Thompson Center
"Like Jahn, I came to the United States as a young immigrant. I viscerally understand his fascination with the kitsch of our adopted land: the bluster of its skyscrapers, the squalor of its suburbs, the gaudiness of its consumption, the rush of its highways. For Jahn this topography offers an inexhaustible source of vernacular references. In the James R. Thompson Center, the pivotal commission of his career, he deploys American tropes with a Nabokovian skill. The building’s regimented façade nods to the colonnade of the neoclassical City Hall directly across the street. Shaded lampposts hint at the intimacy of a small-town square. The volume of the central atrium is an homage to rotundas found in nineteenth-century government buildings. Crowning the atrium, a glass nipple sliced on a diagonal is meant to recall a statehouse cupola. Offices of government bureaucrats are left exposed to sunlight and scrutiny, so as to literalize the ideals of a people’s democracy. And the infamous palette of salmon pink, pearlescent white, and variegated pale-blue glass? The kitschiest of kitsch, of course: broad stripes and bright stars of our banner, streaming gallantly—if you squint at it in the right light." (F. Philip Barash)
+ Cover by Jimenez Lai
An Experiment in the Museum of the Future is Taking Shape in Appleton, Wisconsin
"Beyond the borders of the metropolitan art world, among a string of small, industrial towns in central Wisconsin, an experiment in the museum of the future is taking shape. Artist and curator Tyanna Buie sees our world as a post-George Floyd society. We will never be the same, or, that is the hope. The role of the artist, and the museum, has come to reflect this new reality. In the small but nimble Trout Museum of Art in Appleton, Wisconsin, Buie has gathered sixty-one artists from traditionally marginalized backgrounds and staked a claim for them. “Unraveled. Restructured. Revealed.,” proposes a future for curation, and for empowering artists and their art." (Rafael Francisco Salas)
Songs That Keep Me Company
An original four-page comics story by Abby Jo Turner. A print exclusive.
+ Print exclusive:
A "mood board" of shelving from local designers and boutiques.
Arts & Culture
Art: Viral Ecologies looks beyond the pandemic
Design: Obiora Nwazota wants to bring Igbo culture into our contemporary lifestyle
Dining & Drinking: One writer’s quest to eat all the shawarma in Chicago
Film: Barry Jenkins' The Underground Railroad
Lit: Keiler Roberts discusses "My Begging Chart" + A conversation with Khloé Karova about "LGNSQ
Music: Sons of the Never Wrong's album of incandescent folk
Stage: New Medina Theater Collective tells the stories of Muslim and SWANASA communities
+ Reviews: What we're watching, reading and listening to
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