Literary Dose #46

"I remember when I was about to publish my first book and I said to this friend of mine, Larry Rickels, that I had to get used to the idea of people reading it. He said no, you have to get used to the idea that people don't read books. I found that incredibly liberating. And I would say that with books it's the same as with exhibitions. The purpose of an exhibition is not to be seen, but to have a good party that will allow the people who are engaged to engage each other. It's the same with books. The purpose of books is not to be read. I buy books but do not read them. I own a lot of books. I write books, I collect books, I think about books, I copy books, I pay for books -- I'm in the book business. But I don't read books. Don't assume that exhibitions are meant to be seen, and that books are meant to be read. Buildings are by and large invisible, and that's to their credit."
- Mark Wigley, in Four Conversations on the Architecture of Discourse, edited by Aaron Levy and William Menking (Architectural Association Publications, 2012, p. 83)


  1. Further proof (as if any were needed ....) that contemporary architectural discourse is nonsensical, meaningless drivel packaged in obscurantist prose peddled by pseudo intellectuals with their heads rammed so far up each other's rectums that they cannot see, much less acknowledge reality.

    Mr.Wigley, Mr. Levy, Mr. Menking - are you listening?

  2. Will someone please tell Mark Wigley that piling refutable inanity on top of refutable inanity is no substitute for the display of intelligence. Wigley's obviously idiotic statement is the very epitome of the type of balderdash that is contaminating and polluting REAL architectural discourse. That people take this guy seriously is especially tragic.

  3. Mark Wigley is basically saying that he's wasting his life. He writes books no-one should read. He buys books that he doesn't read, etc. I'm happy for him to waste it because, judging by his ridiculous pronouncement, he's got nothing intelligent to say. He's free to waste his illiterate, unthinking, unknowing life as he pleases .... just try not to bother anyone else with his self-indulgent claptrap.

  4. Wigley's statement has all the intellectual rigor of the braying of a wounded jackass. For Levy and Menking to publish such obvious rubbish says much about their limited mental capacity as well. Unfortunately the academic world has been infiltrated by morons like these three stooges. I'm saddened to think that these buffoons are allowed to teach in once respectable institutions.

    Erroll P. Rice (New York)

  5. Come on. These comments (the last three in particular, though the inclusion of the word 'rectum' in the first has me reconsidering my anonymous comments policy) are more ridiculous than the quote that I chose to include in the post. While I disagree with Wigley's generalizations, I think the statement touches upon something, namely that the people that buy architecture books do not necessarily read them in their entirety. I think many architecture books are references that can be pulled out when needed, or they offer a few chapters, let's say, that are of particular value. I think architects also like to have a well-stocked library, which makes it impossible to read each title.

    But the vitriol directed at Wigley seems to be born of a personal grudge rather than anything about what he's saying. The last three comments also seem to be variations on a theme, which makes me think they're one commenter. Mr. Rice?

    Lastly, I'm not sure how Levy and Menking are responsible in this, given that they moderated conversations and published the transcripts. If they only published positions on the opposite spectrum of Wigley, for example, there wouldn't be any arguments or disagreements and the book would just be their thoughts under the guise of conversations. All of the different voices in the discussions, Wigley being one among many, makes the undertakings valuable.

  6. The book's title "Four Conversations on The Architecture of Discourse" (as opposed to "The Discourse of Architecture"), gives ample warning of the quasi-intellectual pretentiousness to come. Wigley's ludicrous contribution is embarrassing. The statement "Buildings are by and large invisible, and that's to their credit.", is especially pitiable and shows only a childish desire to be contrarian despite the obvious fallibility of the claim.

    It does a disservice to our profession when nonsense like this goes unchecked. Thanks to the Daily Dose for exposing these charlatans for the imposters they truly are.


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