Thursday, November 18, 2010

Philip Johnson

Philip Cortelyou Johnson (July 8, 1906 – January 25, 2005) is the famous bald architect with the big, round glasses.

Born in Cleveland, Johnson's ancestry is Dutch. He is descended from Jacques Cortelyou who mapped out the town plan for New Amsterdam for Peter Stuyvestant. Studying philosophy and history at Harvard, he took several long breaks to tour Europe where he developed his passion for architecture and fascism.

With fellow travelers he championed the modern style of architecture, creating the earthshaking show The International Style: Architecture Since 1922 at the Museum of Modern Art. However, he resigned his post at MOMA in the 1930s to dabble in journalism and criticize the "failure" of the fledgling welfare state. He became a foreign correspondent for Father Coughlin's magazine, Social Justice.

He was "enthralled" by Hitler, and became a disciple of Lawrence Dennis, who predicted that Capitalism was doomed, and that fascism was America's only bulwark against Communism. In 1934 he and some friends formed the National party, though it attracted little interest. He went to Louisiana to work for Huey Long, and after that man was assassinated, found his way to Coughlin's headquarters in Royal Oak, Michigan. In addition to the writing gig, the radio priest tapped Johnson for political organizing for his National Union party.

For ten years, Philip Johnson espoused anti-Semitic rhetoric until he followed the Nazi army into the invasion of Poland as a correspondent. He returned to the United States and enlisted in the Army.

In 1983 he designed the big, ugly extension of the Cleveland Play House and the big, dumb Bolton Theatre.

Sources: Wikipedia
Journal of Architectural Education
The Washington Post
Radio Priest: Charles Coughlin, The Father of Hate Radio

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