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27.1.05

Philip Johnson Dead at 98

Selected Newspaper Articles:

Paul Goldberger, Philip Johnson Is Dead at 98; Architecture's Restless Intellect (New York Times, January 26)

Nicolai Ouroussoff, A Tastemaker Propelled by Curiosity (New York Times, January 27)

Complete Coverage on Philip Johnson (New York Times Web special)

Bart Barnes, With Glass and Steel, Prolific Architect Cut A Towering Figure (Washington Post, January 27) [front-page obit]

Benjamin Forgey, Philip Johnson, Blueprinter of Change (Washington Post, January 27) [Style section appreciation]

Frédéric Edelmann, Philip Johnson, maître de l'architecture moderne (Le Monde, January 28)

Maura Jane Farrelly, 'Glass Box' Architect Philip Johnson Dead at 98 (Voice of America, January 27, with a nice set of 11 images of his works)
Christopher Hawthorne, Philip Johnson, 1906-2005: America's Dean of Architects (Los Angeles Times, January 27)

The Architect Who Flirted With Fascism (Deutsche Welle, January 28)

Patricia C. Johnson, Philip Johnson steered course of 20th-century architecture (Houston Chronicle, January 27)

John King, Philip Johnson, 1906-2005: Architect's legacy seen in cities (San Francisco Chronicle, January 27)

Blair Kamin, Philip Johnson, 1906-2005: America's dean of architecture (Chicago Tribune, January 27)

Selected Blog Posts:

Roger Kimball, Philip Johnson, 1906-2005 (Armavirumque, January 26)

Mike Grass, Philip Johnson, Master Architect, Dead at 98 (DCist, January 27)

Kriston Capps, Philip Johnson (Grammar.police, January 26)
On Tuesday, renowned modern architect Philip Johnson passed away at the age of 98, in the Glass House, the beautiful home he designed for himself, related to both his senior thesis project at Harvard and his Rockefeller Guest House (1949-50, at 242 East 52nd Street, in Manhattan). The Washington remembrances of him have focused on two of the beautiful things he built here, the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown and the private home that is now the Kreeger Museum. Johnson also designed and built another building in Washington, mostly unknown, about which I will have more to say in a few days.

Are we in the middle of another "gay closeting brouhaha" with Philip Johnson? Not from what I have read, but there are too many articles nationwide for me to get a good idea of what has been written. He was somewhat more open about his homosexuality than Susan Sontag, whose sexual identity was largely left unstated by the press, to some uproar. The Advocate has done its best to make sure the issue is not glossed over, with its obituary headline, "Gay architect Philip Johnson dead at 98." I have seen several mentions of Johnson's sexual orientation and the fact that he is survived by his longtime companion, David Whitney.

It was fun to read some of the generally less interesting articles in smaller American newspapers, only because they sometimes mention a Philip Johnson building in the local area. "Hey, this guy who died may not mean anything to you, but he built that crazy building downtown." You can see some examples of what I mean as found in Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis, and Fort Worth. There are almost certainly others. It's great to see this story, which really is important, connected to something local and tangible to readers.

UPDATE:
After the initial rush of appreciations, the jackals swept in to take bites out of the carcass. Thanks to greg.org for the links to Andrew Saint, Philip Johnson: Flamboyant postmodern architect whose career was marred by a flirtation with nazism (The Guardian, January 29) and Mark Stevens, Form Follows Fascism (New York Times, January 31).

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