Thursday, January 14, 2016

Highlights from the Chicago Humanities Festival

Recently, the Chicago Humanities Festival has been posting videos of fall 2015 lectures to its YouTube channel. Below are a few, as of today, architecturally relevant highlights, with text descriptions courtesy of the festival.

Building Art: Paul Goldberger on Frank Gehry
"For many, Frank Gehry is considered the most important living architect. To Chicagoans, his undulating Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park is at the very heart of our city. Paul Goldberger, a contributing editor on architecture at "Vanity Fair" and author of Why Architecture Matters, finds that understanding Gehry’s work and personal story holds undeniable appeal. In Building Art, Goldberger looks to the man’s immigrant grandparents, two marriages, and even his longtime therapist, to provide a context for his audacious and impressive structures. Architecture critic Lee Bey joins him for a conversation."

Office Space: The History Behind our Modern Workaday Existence
"As any worker bee will tell you, the beige modularity and low-slung fluorescent lights of today's offices are hardly inspiring. But Nikil Saval's literary flair and fascinating research reveal the intrigue lurking in the spaces where we spend our 9 to 5 lives. From the clerks in Herman Melville's Bartleby, the Scrivener to the design of Herman Miller desk chairs, Saval's Cubed traces the surprising and illuminating history behind our modern workaday existence. Designer Jonathan Olivares will join him for a conversation."

Skyscrapers and Race
"Literary scholar Adrienne Brown finds a surprising vantage point on the history and dynamic of modern race relations through that uniquely American architectural form, the skyscraper. In stories by Henry James, W. E. B. Dubois, and others, Brown sees a fascination with these towering structures, particularly with the new – if disorienting – view audacious buildings offered on urban communities, and their potential for removing racial divides. The University of Chicago professor will lead a compelling discussion of architecture and race."

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