Ed Driscoll

The Man Who Made Mies

I just read on the New Criterion’s Weblog that Philip Johnson died yesterday at age 98. Johnson was a pretty good architect, but an astonishing impresario of architecture–he helped establish the Museum of Modern Art’s architectural section, which he also ran for many years.

More importantly, Johnson (at left and in the background in this photo from my first National Review Online article in 2001) helped Mies van der Rohe escape the Nazis in the 1930s and emigrate to Chicago; and Mies would, for better or worse, make modernism–and specifically, his version of it–the dominant form of urban architecture in America from the end of World War II until the late 1970s.

Roger Kimball has a long, detailed and well-measured memoriam to Johnson–which showcases the highs, and the lows (and the lows were staggeringly low), of his long and checkered life and career.