In 1972, Charles Jencks pointed to the destruction of the Priutt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis as the moment when Modernism died. Over the years, cities across the country followed suit and destroyed their own failed utopian experiments in public housing (Philadelphia tore down 21, Chicago 79, and Baltimore 21). In New York, housing projects – though reviled – have never been faced with physical destruction, well until now.
The New York Times reports:
New York City has long been the great exception, and red-brick towers still dominate big swathes of the city from the Lower East Side to East Harlem, from Mott Haven to Bushwick. But now, for the first time in its 75-year history, the New York City Housing Authority wants to knock down an entire high-rise complex, Prospect Plaza in Brooklyn. The move that has surprised and angered a number of former tenants and advocates for low-income housing.
The odd thing is that the city didn’t originally plan to level the towers in Brownsville that make up the complex. Prospect Plaza Houses, as they are called, were built in 1974:
… a four-building development with 368 apartments housing some 1,171 residents, was chosen for the massive revitalization because it had been suffering from severe physical and social distress.
Years ago, they had plans to renovate the complex. Guess that didn’t work out.
“Since the Cyrus Cylinder has not been transferred to Iran, we will lodge a complaint against the British Museum to UNESCO and cut ties,” Baghai was quoted as saying by Iranian media.
Why is the cylinder so important?
Many historians regard the cylinder, discovered in 1879, as the world’s first declaration of human rights. It was written at the order of Persian ruler Cyrus the Great after his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC and is currently with the British Museum.
And the Brits can’t say they didn’t know this would happen, since the Iranians have been threatening to do this for a while.
Marc Wilson, the Nelson’s director and CEO, said it is “the biggest gift the museum has ever received,” although the museum declined to give out the value of the works.
I’m glad Wilson didn’t try to frame the whole donation in terms of dollars and cents. We should stop valuing all art based on its price. I mean, my appreciate of Giacometti hasn’t skyrocketed just because his prices have.
‘They won’t allow anything on the tube that looks like ‘street art’. They want us to remove all drips and fuzz from it so it doesn’t look like it’s been spray-painted, which is fucking ridiculous. It’s the most absurd censorship I’ve ever seen,’ del Naja said in response to the decision.
This isn’t the first ban by Transport for London. Last year, they banned a street art-inspired poster by Ministry of Sound in case it caused ‘graffiti artists to think that such behaviour would be tolerated.’
While I do think the whole thing is absurd, I’m not surprised since most suburbs and communities tend to have ordinances and laws to assure aesthetic homogeneity. From the very first suburbs, aesthetic regulations have always been the name of the game in the suburban American dream, which has never been about thinking outside the box. This should remind us why some of us chose to live in urban areas and not the ‘burbs. There’s a reason street art emerged in the urban cores – which tend to celebrate diversity of all types – and not the suburban peripheries. Granted the mural is in Silver Lake, not Orange County, but I think suburban accurately describes most of LA.
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