Today the NY Times reviews a new show at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. Titled “Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197X,” the exhibit explores 70 architectural magazines published in New York and elsewhere during the period. Pamphlets and building instruction manuals are included in the "little magazine" category.

01_08_07Clip1.jpgThe most New York-centric covers described by Nicolai Ouroussoff feature an elephant attacking the Guggenheim Museum and a skyscraper made of Swiss cheese. And the clear plastic bubbles encasing the rare magazines are made of plastic skylights purchased on Canal Street.

Ouroussoff decries “today’s slick and fashion-obsessed architecture scene,” writing that the little magazines featured “have an intoxicating freshness that should send a shudder down the spine of those who’ve spent the last decade bathed in the glow of the computer screen.”

He continues:

But this is not an exercise in nostalgia. It’s a piercing critique, intended or not, of the smoothness of our contemporary design culture. These magazine covers map out an era when architecture was simmering with new ideas. You’re bound to leave the show with a nagging sense of what was lost as well as gained during the electronic juggernaut of the last three decades.

Sure, the magazines are unique and design will never be the same – but wouldn’t it be boring if we were stuck with it for 30-plus years? While architecture may be saturated in sleekness, we can think of architects who don’t succumb to the flashy aesthetic that Ouroussoff rails against. Like SHoP, LTL, WorkAC, L.E.FT, Zakrzewski + Hyde, studioMDA and nARCHITECTS, to name a few.

“Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197X” is at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, 97 Kenmare Street through February 24.

And there's a talk there on Saturday at 6:30 on architectural publishing in New York during the 1970s. Panelists include Steven Holl, Alison Sky, Suzanne Stephens and William Menking.