Trump’s draft executive order condemning the modernism of an aesthetic elite in favor of popular neoclassicism has sparked a spirited—and, at times, toxic—debate.
While fans of modernism are labelling neoclassicist buildings “fascist,” and defenders of Doric columns hurling the same accusation back at them, our latest essay argues that the controversy has obscured the diversity of each style and started on the wrong foot entirely. “The most objectionable enthusiasts of a style should not exclusively define its memory,” Anthony Paletta writes, “and there are more interesting questions here than which style is the ‘most’ fascist.”
Alongside this new piece, we’ve gathered a range of essays from our archive that examine architecture and design. They explore whether buildings were better under socialism, and if Boston’s City Hall deserves to be disliked (spoiler alert: it doesn’t). These selections add further context and nuance to the debate Trump started.
Two attractions in Alabama—the new national lynching memorial and the First Confederate White House—show a nation struggling to contend with its legacy of racial violence.