Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 2) by Mark David Major | Portland Book Review by George Erdosh, April 20, 2015
The review of Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners by the Portland Book Review is available.
“Here is a strange paperback that some readers will love and others won’t read past page three. Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners consists of fifty-two pages of text, one for each week of the year, and a facing black-and-white high-contrast photo illustrations, somewhat related to the subject author Mark David Major selected for that week.”
FROM THE VAULT | Creative Confessions and other writings by Paul Klee
by Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A, The Outlaw Urbanist contributor
Creative Confessions is a series of short essays (vignettes, really) by Modern abstract artist Paul Klee (1879-1940) on art and composition, which the artist wrote while teaching at the Bauhaus in Germany during the 1920s with a postscript essay by the editor, Matthew Gale. In this, it is a thought-provoking read that can be managed in a single sitting (in a real sense: perfect for the Internet Era). It is stuffed full with quotes that have direct bearing on composition in art (“art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible”). However, Klee’s vignettes also carry (perhaps indirect) importance for composition in architecture and urban planning. For example, “a tendency towards the abstract is inherent in linear expression” when you think of this concept in terms of movement in the city. When Klee discusses “the formal elements of graphic art are the dot, line, plane, and space – the last three charged with energy of various kind”, we can easily translate this into built environment terms (dot=location, line=axis of movement, plane=convex space, and space itself is self-explanatory). Klee means this in terms of the energy of artistic gesture but we can also easily understand how these things in an urban environment are similarly ‘charged with energy’ in terms of movement, avoidance, and encounter.
Indeed, it is easy to make transitions such as these from art to architecture/planning since Klee himself tends to express these ideas in terms of movement/counter movement in encounter and vision, i.e. a journey across “an unploughed field” or crossing a “river” or “walking across the deck of a steamer”, which are described in terms of linear expression. Klee’s explicitly acknowledges this, arguing that “movement is the source of all change” and “space, too, is a temporal concept.” “When a dot begins to move and becomes a line, this require time.” In planning terms, we can think of this as our location in space changing by the action of our movement and thus our experience of space evolves with that movement. This is not only expressed in terms of geospatial reality but also in time since we, as human beings, are bound in space and time.
“Movement is the basic datum” of the universe, Klee tells us. In understanding this (in art as well as the science of urbanism), we can “reveal the reality that is behind visible things”. Klee argues “the object grows beyond its appearance through our knowledge that the thing is more than its outward aspect suggests”. Indeed, in discussing art, is Klee begins to tap into the inherent nature of observation and science itself.
Creative Confessions and other writings
by Paul Klee (Matthew Gale, Editor and Postscript)
Tate; Act edition (May 6, 2014), London UK
You can purchase Creative Confessions and other writings from Amazon here.
The mheu (A historical museum of the urban environment) is a virtual museum that offers thematic exhibitions comprising a range of works including pictures, literature, sound and video.
Virtual exhibition on Urban Utopias
“In urban planning, as elsewhere, the utopian ideal is more than an instinctive desire for a better world: it is also a source of progress. Even the wildest urban projects lend impetus to more efficient ways of living in one way or another… In the words of Lamartine: “Utopias are often simply premature truths.” The (exhibition) is an overview of cities whose bricks and mortar are the stuff of dreams, ideas and achievements.”
Bathe in New Light | The City in Art By Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A
Neon, noun,ne·on,ˈnē-ˌän – a colorless odorless mostly inert gaseous element that is found in minute amounts in air and used in electric lamps. From the Greek, neuter of neos new, first Known Use: 1898.
Art is rarely or merely about the physical representation of the thing but instead about light, shadow and reflection as represented in counter pose to the physical reality of the thing itself.
This is a widespread tradition that can be traced back to long before Modernism with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Jan van Eyck. For example, Jan van Eyck’sThe Arnolfini Portrait (1434, National Gallery, London) where the artist paints his own reflection in the mirror located on the back wall behind his subjects (see below).
In Under Neons, Harbert paints the city as bathed in neon light, as if physicality of the thing itself did not have an objective existence until awash in shadows and reflections birthed by the light itself. In the same tradition as Georgia O’Keefe’s Radiator Building-Night, New York (1927) and Harbert’s The Blue City(2012), the artist encourages us to see the city in a new and different way; not merely as a physical entity but also as an abstract reality bathed in its all-consuming light. This is given urgent power by the artist through the use of primary colors (reds, yellows, and blues) and blacks/whites, which hint at Piet Mondrian’s famous abstract paintings of New York. However, the control and preciseness found Mondrian’s abstract formalism is sacrificed in favor of a kinetic energy – of vibrant motion – painted in the light and dark of the city. Of course, Under Neons immediately suggests the city we most associate with neon spectacle: Las Vegas. However, this could be any city. This could be our city, given life anew in the light.
About Rejcel Harbert
Rejcel Harbert has over ten years of experience as the owner of Art by Rejcel, where she sells photographic services, paintings, and abstract and expressionistic acrylic arts. She received her bachelor of arts in business, economics, and Spanish from Jacksonville University in 2001. She is a member of the Business Fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, the Honor Society Phi Kappa Phi, and received an award from the Women’s Business Organization for Achievement. Ms. Harbert does religious volunteer work including construction and repair work for community members in need. For more information on Art by Rejcel, visit www.rejcel.com.
The City in Art is a series by The Outlaw Urbanist. The purpose is to present and discuss artistic depictions of the city that can help us, as professionals, learn to better see the city in ways that are invisible to others. Before the 20th century, most artistic representations of the city broadly fell into, more or less, three categories: literalism, pastoral romanticism, and impressionism, or some variation thereof. Generally, these artistic representations of the city lack a certain amount of substantive interest for the modern world. The City in Art series places particular emphasis on art and photography from the dawn of the 20th century to the present day.
Who Teaches Planning? by Thomas Sanchez, Planetizen, January 14, 2013
Here’s the recipe for ‘group think’ in urban planning. Images are from the Planetizen article (link below).
What role does the background of planning faculty, and the institutions from which they earned their degrees, have on the training of future planners? Tom Sanchez examines the profile of the nation’s planning faculty to help advance this discussion.
Where Planning Faculty Come From
The top ten schools produced almost half (46%) of all planning faculty (out of approximately 850 total faculty)… The top 20 schools produced nearly two-thirds of all planning faculty (63%).
Social Network of Planning Academics
Because the top 10 schools that produce planning faculty represent nearly half of all planning faculty, they also have extensive reach across accredited planning programs. These schools currently have faculty in nearly all (about 80) planning programs. UC Berkeley, for instance, has faculty in nearly half of all accredited planning programs…