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The Colour of Oppositions

Queensland University of Technology

Tutors: Jennifer Taylor and Paula Whitman

This study is concerned with the political climate of architecture in the United States during the 1970s, especially the individuals, groups and organisations involved with the journal Oppositions. It looks at the participation of groups with conflicting ideologies, including the Whites and Grays, in the activities of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (IAUS), the self-nominated American architectural avantgarde of the 1970s.

This study draws on the work of historians who commented first-hand on the relationships between key figures, published interviews and the journal itself to analyse the editors' intentions. It concludes that, while genuine scholarly debate between the Whites and Grays occurred, the conflict was exaggerated in order to generate publicity for American architecture.Contributors, both American and European, and organisations such as the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), supported the aim to promote architecture as an autonomous, cultured and intellectual discipline, and certain individuals gained social power by centring themselves within the heart of the discourse, distinguishing themselves as influential leaders of the discipline, and part of a cultural 'elite.'

This dissertation shows how media representation affects not only immediate public perception of culture and politics, but historical record.

'Pleasantly nostalgic' Murray Fraser 'Finely articulates the identity politics of the New York architecture field' Kim Dovey

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