Marxist Architectural Histories (FS23)

Seminar Marxist Architectural Histories (FS23) (052-0830-23)
Organizer: Chair Delbeke
Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Maarten Delbeke, Matthew Critchley
Time: Fridays 8-10 am
Location: HIL D 60.1

Outline: Vera Mukhina's sculpture for the 1937 Paris exhibition
Text: First Chapter of Karl Marx "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte", 1852

How do we write history? Just as Marxism posed the most profound challenge to politics in the 20th century, it also confronted the way history could be told. We will uncover the origins of Marxist architectural history and the heated debates which surrounded its authors. We will look at the texts of Marxists, of those against Marxism and of those who while not Marxist were nevertheless part of a general adoption of Marxist ideas within art and architectural history.
Frederick Antal wrote “Methods of art history, just as pictures, can be dated.” And many of these texts are clearly historically contingent. Antal himself was a revolutionary, becoming an official in Béla Kun’s short lived Hungarian Soviet Republic and his colleague the British art historian Anthony Blunt, was a Communist spy. In contrast, the conservative scholar Ernst Gombrich who opposed Marxist history, was closely aligned with neoliberal philosophy and economics. It was in history where their political positions played out. Participants will be encouraged to think through these debates and to question these positions with current ideas on race, gender and other forms of critical discourse. A reflexive need to critique historical writing is perhaps the most enduring legacy of Marxism’s entrance into architectural history.

Course Sessions and Materials

24.02 Seminar 1 | Frederick Antal: Art Historian and Revolutionary
Required Reading:
Frederick Antal, On Museums in the Soviet Union (1932) - GERMAN and ENGLISH (click to download) 
Frederick Antal, Extracts from Florentine Painting and its Social Background (1948) (click to download) 

03.03 Seminar 2 | Anthony Blunt: The Architectural History of a Communist Spy
Required Reading:
Anthony Blunt, Art Under Capitalism and Socialism (1937) (click to download) 
Anthony Blunt, The Setting of Bourgeois Life in Paris (1979) (click to download) 

10.03 Seminar 3 | Francis Klingender and the Marxist Critique of Formalism
Required Reading:
Francis Klingender, On Generalizations (1935) (click here to download) 
Francis Klingender, The London House (1935) (click here to download) 

17.03 Seminar 4 | Ernst Gombrich’s Neoliberal Attack on a Marxist History of Art
Required Reading:
Ernst Gombrich, Architecture and Rhetoric in Giulio Romano's Palazzo del Te (1986) 

21.04 Seminar 6 | Critiquing Banham's Critique
Required Reading:
Reyner Banham, Non-Plan An Experiment in Freedom (1969) 
Reyner Banham, Zoom Wave Hits Architecture (1966) 

28.04 Seminar 8 | Frampton reads Hannah Arendt
Required Reading:
Kenneth Frampton, The Status of Man and the Status of his Objects (1979) 

15.05 Seminar 9 | Student interview with Anthony Vidler
Read one of the following essays, or a chapter from one of the following books:
Anthony Vidler, The New Industrial World: The Reconstruction of Urban Utopia in Late Nineteenth Century France, 1971 
Anthony Vidler, The Architecture of the Lodges; Ritual Form and Associated Life in the Late Enlightenment, 1976 
Anthony Vidler, The Third Typology, 1976 
Anthony Vidler, The Idea of Type: The Transformation of the Academic Ideal 1750–1830, 1977 
Anthony Vidler, After Historicism, 1979 
Anthony Vidler, Theatre of Production: Claude-Nicolas Ledoux and the Architecture of Social Reform, 1981 
Anthony Vidler, The Rhetoric of Monumentality: Ledoux and the Barrières of Paris, 1984 
Anthony Vidler, The Architecture of the Uncanny, 1987 
Anthony Vidler, The Writing of the Walls: Architectural Theory in the Late Enlightenment, 1987 
Anthony Vidler, Losing Face: Notes on the Modern Museum, 1989 
Anthony Vidler, The Building in Pain: The Body and Architecture in Post-Modern Culture, 1990 
Anthony Vidler, Agoraphobia: Spatial Estrangement in Georg Simmel and Siegfried Kracauer, 1991 
Anthony Vidler, Researching Revolutionary Architecture, 1991 
Anthony Vidler, The Explosion of Space: Architecture and the Filmic Imaginary, 1993 
Anthony Vidler, The Object of Art History, 1994 
Anthony Vidler, The Exhaustion of Space at the Scene of the Crime, 1997 
Anthony Vidler, Technologies of Space/Spaces of Technology, 1999 
Anthony Vidler, Diagrams of Diagrams: Architectural Abstraction and Modern Representation, 2000 
Anthony Vidler, Disenchanted Histories: The Legacies of Manfredo Tafuri, 2000 
Anthony Vidler, The Ledoux Effect: Emil Kaufmann and the Claims of Kantian Autonomy, 2002 
Anthony Vidler, Still wired after all these years?, 2003 
Anthony Vidler, Toward a Theory of the Architectural Program, 2003 
Anthony Vidler, Damisch avec Architecture, 2005 
Anthony Vidler, Nothing to Do with Architecture (on Jacques Derrida), 2005  
Anthony Vidler, Terres Inconnues: Cartographies of a Landscape to Be Invented, 2006 
Anthony Vidler, Reading the City: The Urban Book from Mercier to Mitterrand, 2007 
Anthony Vidler, Histories of the Immediate Present, 2008 
Anthony Vidler, Whatever Happened To Ecology? John McHale and the Bucky Fuller Revival, 2008 
Anthony Vidler, Another Brick in the Wall, 2011 
Anthony Vidler, The Scenes of the Streets and Other Essays, 2011 

19.05 Seminar 10 | Griselda Pollock, Helen Rosenau and the Feminist Challenge to Marxist Histories
Required Reading:
Griselda Pollock, Vision, voice and power: feminist art histories and Marxism (1982) 
Helen Rosenau, Woman in Art: from Type to Personality (1944) 
For Griselda Pollock's lecture on Woman in Art by Helen Rosenau: