Untimely Moderns


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How Twentieth-Century Architecture Reimagined the Past

Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen

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A novel exploration of the idea of nonlinear time and its place at the heart of modern art and architecture

Through much of the twentieth century, a diverse group of thinkers engaged in an interdisciplinary conversation about the meaning of time and history for modern art and architecture. The group included architects Louis Kahn, Eero Saarinen, James Gamble Rogers, and Paul Rudolph; artists Anni and Josef Albers; philosopher Paul Weiss; and art historians Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, Henri Focillon, George Kubler, and Vincent Scully.

These figures were unified by their resistance to the idea that, in order to be considered modern, art and architecture had to be of its time, as well as by the pivotal place that Yale University held as a backdrop to their thinking. The group sponsored a new kind of approach, one that Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen terms “untimely,” emphasizing a departure from a sequential course of events. Ideas about temporal duration, new tradition, the presence of the past, and the shape of time were among the concepts they explored.

With an interdisciplinary focus and original research, Pelkonen reveals previously unexplored connections between key figures of American intellectual and artistic culture at midcentury whose works and words would shape modern architecture.

Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen is assistant dean and professor at the Yale University School of Architecture. Her many books include Alvar Aalto: Architecture, Modernity, and Geopolitics; Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment; and Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future.

“A fascinating and polyphonic group portrait, Untimely Moderns has repercussions for the historiography of architecture schools across the western world.”—Mari Lending, author of Plaster Monuments. Architecture and the Power of Reproduction

Winner of a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
ISBN: 9780300263954
Publication Date: July 25, 2023
224 pages, 7 x 10
10 color + 95 b/w illus.
Eero Saarinen

Shaping the Future

Edited by Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen and Donald Albrecht; With con

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Alvar Aalto

Architecture, Modernity, and Geopolitics

Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen

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Kevin Roche

Architecture as Environment

Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen; Foreword by Robert A. M.

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Reassessing Rudolph

Edited by Timothy M. Rohan; With contributions by Kazi K.

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Josef Albers


Edited by Heinz Liesbrock in collaboration with Ulrike Grow

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