Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

It’s easy to picture Philip Johnson seated in his regular booth in the Grill Room at the Four Seasons; his back to the windows, his bespectacled eyes on the door, he’s confident and at the top of his game as he presides over a room of his own design.

Now imagine him jittery and hesitant in a different room on a different coast. It’s the late 1950s and, faced with a University of California, Berkeley researcher trying to uncover the secrets to his creativity, Johnson uses his ample verbal and social gifts to upend the interview. In a typed report, the researcher would later write, “He showed many classic features of the manic: self-centered, irritable, jumpy, flight of ideas, arrogance, use of humor to defend against serious consideration of anxiety-producing topics.” Read More …

Let’s talk about the insidious return of hippie architecture. Over the past year, as trend-watchers tracked the disciplinary resurrection of Postmodernism and the painful deconstruction of Brutalism, a shaggier architecture shuffled into the room bringing with it a waft of patchouli.

Viewers of Mad Men know what I mean. A chunk of the show’s finale last month was set in a yurt-esque structure poised on the cliff edge of the Pacific. It was there, in a group sharing exercise, that ad man, philanderer, and searcher-for-identity Donald Draper found his enlightenment surrounded by longhairs and macramé, not bouffanted secretaries and glass curtainwalls. Read More …