An Army of Soldiers or a Meadow: The Seagram Building and the "Art of Modern Architecture" focuses on the New York headquarters of Joseph E. Seagram & Sons (1954–58), designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in association with Philip Johnson. Drawing upon archival documents and the history of the building's design and reception, Felicity D. Scott demonstrates the participation of the tower and its plaza in an important transformation of modern architecture—usually identified as the rise of Postmodernism. She closely analyzes the shifting assessment of a key interpreter of the building, Arthur Drexler (of New York's Museum of Modern Art) and carefully tracks the construction and reception of the landmark building's image within American consumer culture. Although Mies demanded that art grow out of the immanent forces of its time, he was ultimately sorrowful that cultural and economic forces made his design vocabulary the lingua franca of postwar commercial architecture. The author situates this landmark building in a manner that complicates our reading of its importance both to the field of architectural history and to the career of Mies van der Rohe.

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