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From Bauhaus to Our House | [Tom Wolfe]

From Bauhaus to Our House

In Tom Wolfe's hands, the strange saga of American architecture in the 20th century makes for both high comedy and intellectual excitement. This is his sequel to The Painted Word, the book that caused such a furor in the art world five years before. Once again Wolfe shows how social and intellectual fashions have determined aesthetic form in our time and how willingly the creators have abandoned personal vision and originality in order to work a la mode.
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Publisher's Summary

In Tom Wolfe's hands, the strange saga of American architecture in the 20th century makes for both high comedy and intellectual excitement. This is his sequel to The Painted Word, the book that caused such a furor in the art world five years before. Once again Wolfe shows how social and intellectual fashions have determined aesthetic form in our time and how willingly the creators have abandoned personal vision and originality in order to work a la mode.

Listen to a conversation with Tom Wolfe.

©1981 by Tom Wolfe; (P)1998 by Blackstone Audiobooks

What Members Say

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3.6 (65 )
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  •  
    Ellen Kansas City, MO, United States 04-08-09
    Ellen Kansas City, MO, United States 04-08-09 Member Since 2001
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    "So snarky I kept having to back up and repeat"

    This book is so deliciously biting and sarcastic I kept having to back up and listen to almost every sentence again to be sure I got all the snark. Every word is perfectly crafted with (in most cases) a lot of well-deserved sneers. I do not share quite his level of derision in every case but I love it when someone is bold enough to skewer some sacred cows no one else dares to skewer. If you like this one, another similar book is "The Painted Word" (also by Wolfe) and "Art's Prospect" by Roger Kimball. I have a friend who loves and respects Frank Lloyd Wright and I had to stop reading and email him about Bauhaus to Our House because of how it praises Wright and links Wright to other indigenous American art forms and movements that lost their place in the sun too soon. That said, I don't absolutely hate minimalism. But it sure is fun to hear some sacred cows get a grilling.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sudi RICHMOND, VA, United States 09-04-13
    Sudi RICHMOND, VA, United States 09-04-13 Member Since 2011

    Coffee-UFOs-Cats-Books-Halloween

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    "Nice Architectural History Synopsis"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This was a nice review of certain early to mid-century architectural style(s) and theory.
    If you need to freshen your memory of things learned in Art History 101, this is the ticket in the architectural field.


    What could Tom Wolfe have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Mr. Wolfe did what he proposed. That being an articulation of just how the minimalist idea in the architectural canon evolved.


    Did Dennis McKee do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Well, no characters here, but Mr. McKee did a nice job reading the text.


    Could you see From Bauhaus to Our House being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    (Ah HA!! I see that Audible needs to apply some editing their questions when reviewing nonfiction! This is an essay, pretty much, not a fictionalized account of architectural stylizers.)

    But OK... I'm game!

    If Mr. Wolfe wanted to have a movie made of the evolution of intellectualization of the human habitat from dirt floors and burlap curtains to the glass box of the 20th century, he could introduce into a work of fiction an immortal who lives on one square acre of ground for about 12,000 years and has to undergo a thousand renovations of his habitat.

    Anyone who has ever been inflicted with of a renovation of the tiniest kitchen or a measly bathroom knows that this leads to madness. So, instead of a vampire or wolf-human that lives forever, we could have, as our protagonist, a common man driven insane not only by the intellectuals who dictate fashion at the expense of comfort but also a man driven to suicide by the endless torture of construction never finished. Sort of like what happens in any actual renovation.

    Of course, being immortal, the man cannot chose to end his suffering at his own hand because, well, he's immortal and must endure until he is finally encased in a glassy, soulless, boxed tower .


    Any additional comments?

    Nope.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat Concord, MA, United States 07-10-12
    Pat Concord, MA, United States 07-10-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Brilliant and Incisive Satire. Wolfe at his Best!"

    If you want to understand why so many modernh new buildings in our cities are hard on the eyes as well as the spirit, Tom Wolfe is your man!
    Wolfe eviscerates the pompous and arrogant class of modern architects, and makes you laugh out loud as he does it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Olaf Portland, OR, United States 08-18-11
    Olaf Portland, OR, United States 08-18-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Good critique/history; wrong narrator"

    I really enjoyed this critique and history of 20th century architecture focused primarily on the US and its relation to the academic/purist schools which originated with Bauhaus. Tom Wolfe is insightful, cynical, and tells a good story.
    However, the gravely voiced narrator (more suited for a Western or detective novel) made it difficult to listen to the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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