“Modernism and Monumentalism: The Gigantic Scale of Construction in Transatlantic Perspective”
with Miguel Caballero (Northwestern University)
The consolidation of the skyscraper in the United States and the emergent cult to ruins and the grandiloquent scale of construction in Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and Stalinist Soviet Union set the intellectual debates about monumentalism at the center during the 1920s–1930s. This talk explores the articulation of this debate in the Ibero-Mexican context through the analysis of the theoretical and historiographic work of Mexican architect and archaeologist Francisco Mujica. Mujica’s History of the Skyscraper (1929) is one of the first in its genre. He accompanied it with a theory of the architectural repressed in which he connected pre-Columbian teocallis with modern skyscrapers through their monumentalism, in contrast to the Spanish human-based scale of construction. Despite his rather de-colonial approach to aesthetic theory, he eventually sold his archaeological drawings to the Francoist Museum of America. I frame the analysis of his work in the context of the modernist discussions about monumentalism that connected the gigantic scale of construction with transatlantic history.
Contact info: Krista Brune (email@example.com) and Nicolás Fernández-Medina (firstname.lastname@example.org)