Pinkcomma welcomes Mark Lamster—award-winning architectural critic and biographer—next Wednesday Jan 23rd, from 6-8pm for a reading and discussion of his new book, the Man in the Glass House, a biography of Philip Johnson.
About The Man in the Glass House
When Philip Johnson died in 2005 at the age of 98, he was still one of the most recognizable—and influential—figures on the American cultural landscape. The first recipient of the Pritzker Prize and MoMA’s founding architectural curator, he introduced America to modernism, and promoted generations of architects, designers, and artists, from Mies van der Rohe to Frank Gehry, Jasper Johns to Andy Warhol. It was Johnson, the consummate power broker, who virtually invented the “starchitect,” the celebrity architect. His own work, most famously his own Glass House in the Connecticut suburbs and the Chippendale-capped AT&T Building in New York, was polarizing, as was his impish personality. Nearly every major American city boasts one of his buildings.
Johnson was a man of deep paradoxes. He was a fascist Nazi sympathizer who built synagogues and supported Israel, a genius without originality, an opportunist and a romantic, a populist and a snob. His last great client was Donald Trump.
“Lamster’s timing is excellent: He has written the story of Philip Johnson for the age of Donald Trump, and it makes us see a side of Johnson that is, at the very least, sobering.”
Paul Goldberger, The New York Times
“In ‘The Man in the Glass House,’ Mark Lamster’s brisk, clear-eyed new biography of Johnson, we are asked to contemplate why the impresario of twentieth-century architecture descended into such a morass of far-right politics—and how, given the depths to which he fell, he managed to clamber his way not just out of it, but to the top.”
Nikil Saval, The New Yorker
“Mark Lamster’s dazzling portrait of Philip Johnson narrates the rise and fall of every architectural movement of the 20th century refracted through one man’s ambition, while providing an analysis, and an indictment, of how power in America is gained, wielded, and squandered. In The Man in the Glass House, Lamster takes a protagonist who is compromised in every possible way–morally, politically, and aesthetically–places him squarely at the intersection of American commerce and culture, and dares us to watch what happens.”
Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, Fast Company
“Lamster’s book is one that doesn’t shy away from wondering, in 2018, how much we can truly separate the man from his art”
Angela Serratore, Smithsonian Magazine
“The Man in the Glass House reads like an Ayn Rand plot rewritten by Henry James. It is as enjoyable and informative to read Lamster’s descriptions of the buildings he loves as it is of those he hates.”
Spencer Lee Lenfield, Harvard Magazine
“The book is a valuable account of Philip Johnson’s life, but it also goes beyond being an individual’s biography, setting an example for the historical treatment of flawed geniuses.”
Daisy Alioto, Curbed