Architects, when working as the minions of those in power, inadvertently reveal the truth in their art. It’s as if their unconscious toadyism bleeds through the walls seen only by those who have refused to engage in the self-medication of a benumbed society. “When Hitler made his first State visit to Rome in the thirties, Mussolini [the ultimate sycophant] had the last mile of railway track into Stazione Termini lined with fake apartment blocks. Thousands of Italians stood on concealed scaffolding, leaning from the windows, cheering the Fuhrer. This provoked one wag to write a pasquinade, which ran:
Rome of marble,
Rebuilt in cardboard,
Salutes the housepainter
who will be its next ruler.”[i]
The authoritarian neo-classical architecture of Rome was reborn in the U.S. twenty-five years later: “The main ingredients of the architecture of State power, as imagined by the totalitarian hacks of our century, became known as the Architecture of Democracy when they crossed the Atlantic in the 1950’s.”[ii] Examples are: the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Lincoln Center in New York and the entrance to the Lyndon Johnson Memorial Library in Texas.
The corporate influence trying to hide behind the patriotic façades of public buildings “bleeds through” most glaringly in the seat of government for New York State, Albany Mall. “It is designed for one purpose and achieves it perfectly: it expresses the centralization of power, and one may doubt if a single citizen has ever wandered on its bleak plaza, so out of scale that even the marble facing seems like white Formica, and felt the slightest connection with the bureaucratic and governmental processes going on in the towers above him.”[iii]
The name linked with both the Albany Mall and one of the most famous structures in the city of New York is also the most famous name in the malfeasance of the corporation—Rockefeller. The light of truth was too intense for the Rockefellers when Diego Rivera, the Mexican muralist, was hired to cover their walls with images of production and revolution. The truth of the corporation victimizing the people did not have to bleed through the frescoes, it was portrayed on the surface. The Rockefeller reaction was to have the murals removed because a response to the truth requires more courage than those who live in pursuit of security tend to have.
[i] Hughes, Robert. The Shock of the New. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1981, page 105.
[ii] Ibid., page 108.
Find a much more in-depth discussion in books by Roy Charles Henry.