Philip Cortelyou Johnson may be more responsible than anyone for the shift from Modernism as a new way of living to Modernism as an elite bauble. Born into immense power and privilege, he was a deeply committed elitist, and dilettante fascist, who used his money and connections to whitewash his youthful (and ongoing) embrace of Hitler in specific and far-right politics in general. As a key curator and preacher of the Modernist gospel in the United States, he was central in divorcing the style from its egalitarian political aspirations. In response to criticism, he said: “I am a whore. Very well paid.”
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