A rainy grey afternoon was a good excuse, and a fitting moment, to visit the Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia exhibit at MoMA. I (Thomas) was born into a family that lived in a very similar urban environment in a neighbouring Euro country, so it was interesting to see this period of time represented in a museum context.
I’m still not sure where I land on Brutalism, but I do think the key is dosage and context. When you’re surrounded by it day after day, and it’s part of a grand totalitarian mindset, it’s everything its detractors say it is… cold, oppressive, dehumanizing. But in small doses and in the right environment, there’s an honesty and purpose that’s to be admired…never mind the fact that it encouraged a much wider spectrum of design experimentation that was often missing with the International Style.
The designer side of me loves it. The human side is much more skeptical. But either way, this exhibit was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. Go see it if you can.