World War I and the Avant-Garde: New UArizona Humanities Seminar Taught by Architecture Associate Professor Laura Hollengreen
A new University of Arizona Humanities Seminar led by CAPLA Associate Professor of Architecture Laura Hollengreen will investigate the ecology of war in the later 19th and early 20th century to determine its impact on post-war perception, avant-garde art and architecture, and conceptions of place and memory.
The five-part course, which runs from September 28 to October 26, 2022, is offered both in person, at the UArizona Poetry Center, as well as online. Register here.
“Over the time of my career in schools of architecture, I’ve pondered the question of what impact on artistic, architectural and urban ideas we might attribute to the war,” Hollengreen says. “The strange new forms of Dada poems, performances and images, the weirdness of Surrealist fantasies, the aspiration towards an international, even universal, language of architecture in modernism—how did these distinct cultural trajectories develop during and after the war? For instance, of the famed triumvirate of 20th century avant-garde architects—Gropius, Le Corbusier, and Mies van der Rohe—only the former was a combatant in the war. Did that signify in any identifiable way to his practice and teaching? These are questions which still excite me today and which we’ll explore in the class.”
Readings and class meetings will deal with a range of topics, including the philosophy and culture of war, landscape modification, technologies of war, combat experience, the psychological costs of war, war and art, the emergence of new media and their representation of war, memory and mourning, reconstruction and architecture, and utopian proposals for the pre-and post-war city.
Hollengreen, who was appointed associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture in 2019, is an associate professor of architecture. Trained at Princeton and UC Berkeley, she has taught the history of art at several universities and the history of architecture at UArizona and Georgia Tech. While most of her scholarship focuses on medieval topics, she has a longstanding interest in early 20th century artistic and architectural abstraction and the origins of the avant-garde.