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|Architect Philip Johnson dies at 98|
Posted by Peter Cresswell on 2/03, 3:53am
|Rand did not use Philip Johnson as her model for Peter Keating, but one could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.|
In 1932 Philip Johnson curated an architectural exhibition on "International Style" architecture which introduced modernism to New York's chattering classes.
Despite being the inspiration for the better part of the exhibitors, Frank Lloyd Wright was intentionally snubbed by the young curator. "I thought he was dead," said Johnson archly. Wright wasn't, and his twenty-seven year career after the snub produced such gems as the Johnson Wax Building, Wingspread and Fallingwater. . .
Meanwhile, Johnson headed off to kneel at Hitler's feet for a decade - he started a US fascist party; attended the Nazi's 1938 Nuremberg Rally; and followed the German army into Poland: "We saw Warsaw burn and Modlin being bombed," he wrote afterward. "It was a stirring spectacle" - before returning to the US to become Peter Keating. He succeeded.
Now Johnson is dead, after a career spent selling himself. It is hard to mourn his passing; he leaves no work worth a damn, and an attitude worthy of Ellsworth Toohy: commenting for the Ken Burns's film on Frank Lloyd Wright, Johnson confesses, "I hated him of course. I hated him for his magnificent ability."
Johnson once called himself a "whore", open to every passing fashion. At least he entertained no self delusions.
The world is a better place for his leaving it.