New Book | The Architecture of Art History

Posted in books by Editor on December 18, 2018

From Bloomsbury:

Mark Crinson and Richard Williams, The Architecture of Art History: A Historiography (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), 168 pages, ISBN: 9781350020917, $82.

What is the place of architecture in the history of art? Why has it been at times central to the discipline, and at other times seemingly so marginal? What is its place now?

Many disciplines have a stake in the history of architecture—sociology, anthropology, human geography, to name a few. This book deals with perhaps the most influential tradition of all—art history—examining how the relation between the disciplines of art history and architectural history has waxed and waned over the last one hundred and fifty years.

In this highly original study, Mark Crinson and Richard J. Williams point to a decline in the importance attributed to the role of architecture in art history over the last century—which has happened without crisis or self-reflection. The book explores the problem in relation to key art historical approaches, from formalism, to feminism, to the social history of art, and in key institutions from the Museum of Modern Art, to the journal October. Among the key thinkers explored are Banham, Baxandall, Giedion, Panofsky, Pevsner, Pollock, Riegl, Rowe, Steinberg, Wittkower and Wölfflin. The book will provoke debate on the historiography and present state of the discipline of art history, and it makes a powerful case for the reconsideration of architecture.

Mark Crinson is Professor of Art History at the University of Manchester, where he teaches on the history of modern architecture and photography. He won the 2004 Spiro Kostof Prize for his work Modern Architecture and the End of Empire, and the 2012 Historians of British Art Prize for Stirling and Gowan: Architecture from Austerity to Affluence.

Richard Williams is Professor of Contemporary Visual Cultures at the University of Edinburgh. He has written and edited several books, including Regenerating Culture and Society (2011) and After Modern Sculpture (2000), and is a frequent contributor to The Times Higher on architecture and urbanism related topics.


1  The German Tradition
2  The Architectural Unconscious — Steinberg and Baxandall
3  Modernism- Institutional and Phenomenal
4  From Image to Environment — Reyner Banham’s Architecture
5  The New Art History
October’s Architecture

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