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Niemeyer deserves more understanding


One would have expected that the seven-decade career of Oscar Niemeyer, the architect whose early work Pevsner saw as 'irrational' and 'unfunctional', would have been understood by now. But the AJ editorial (6.2.03) proves otherwise.

Neither the Curitiba Museum Niemeyer completed two months ago, nor the photographers' favourite one at Niteroi (1999) - let alone his seemingly floating, cloud-scratching structures at Brasília - justify such terms as 'brutalism' or 'heavy organic forms embedded in the landscape'. Is it, perhaps, judgement rather than 'reputation [that] rests on work which was executed decades ago'?

Far from 'nostalgic' or 'crowd-pleasing', this year's choice (pictured above) confirms the Serpentine's curatorial genius. For Niemeyer may be '[much] talked about' but he remains little known.

Dr Styliane Philippou, London

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