Review Of "Deconstruction: Omnibus Volume" Edited By A. Papadakis, C. Cooke, And A. B. Rizzoli

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Occasioned by the seminal 1988 Tate Gallery symposium and the ensuing New York MOMA exhibit, this weighty and lavish volume combines the symposium papers with additional articles, critiques, and architectural examples into what is purportedly the definitive statement on the subject, and while it neither demystifies deconstruction for skeptics nor resolves the confusion surrounding its raison d'etre in architecture (as opposed to architectural criticism), it does locate the subject's center--who, what, and where--and makes it, however debatable, a historic fact. Peter Eisenman interviewed by Charles Jencks a la Mike Wallace is entertaining, and his recent works, both written and designed, are as illuminating as they are intellectually challenging. But Jacques Derrida interviewed by Christopher Norris is as opaque as his "Fifty-Two Aphorisms" reprinted with it. Catherine Cooke's two excellent essays on Russian Constructivism demonstrate without trying that the movement's link with deconstruction, assumed by all, is after all little more than nominal. Brief philosophical comments on Derrida by Geoff Bennington and Andrew Benjamin, David Lodge's review of the symposium, several essays on painting (especially of Kiefer and Adami), and a survey of the built and unbuilt works of Tschumi, Liebeskind, Hadid, and Himmelblau, among others, all amply illustrated, complete this comprehensive but mixed volume. An essential title in contemporary architecture for college libraries.


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