Saturday, April 17, 2010

Picasso > Le Corbusier

It is a curious paradox that even the most materialist of us tend to value what might be called the useless above the useful. Useless not in the sense of being without purpose, but without utility, or at least with not much of it. Manolo Blahnik makes shoes that are harder to walk in and a lot more expensive than a pair of plimsolls, though they might be rather more helpful as part of a courtship display. A Ferrari attracts more attention than a Volkswagen, but is hardly a practical means of urban transport. And, at a more fundamental level, while art is useless, design is useful. So Picasso is a far more central figure to the culture of the twentieth century than Le Corbusier, and Guernica, if it were ever to be sold, would command a far higher price than the Unite d’Habitation.

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