There's a marvelous look at the Modernism movement at London's V&A museum from 6th April. In a review of the expo, the Guardian gave a description of Modernism:

Early Modernism, it has to be said, was a European affair. While the British withdrew into well-rehearsed jingoism after the First World War, the response of the French, Germans and Russians was to become more international in outlook and as progressive in production as current technology would allow. Houses were built using steel frames and poured concrete. Furniture was fashioned from bent wood and tubular steel, making the time-consuming skills of cabinet-making redundant. Austrians like Adolf Loos railed against ornamentation, equating it so literally with wrongdoing that he declared any person sporting a tattoo to be a criminal. ‘They found beauty elsewhere,' says Christopher Wilk, the exhibition's curator. ‘Mies van der Rohe found it in the perfect right angle. Le Corbusier in the smoothness of surface. They cared deeply about the way things look.' This, in spite of a rhetoric that centred on rationalism and functionalism to the exclusion of all else.

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