"Adolf Loos’ Ornament and Crime" (2002)

"Adolf Loos’ Ornament and Crime," 2002
Blown glass, wood, glass, and electric lighting, case dimensions: 49 x 60 x 10 1/2 inches. Collection of the Detroit Institute of the Arts. Photo by Tom Van Eynde
Courtesy Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

"If you actually read Adolf Loos’ 'Ornament and Crime'...it’s where this whole Mies van der Rohe idea of ‘less is more’ comes from. It’s about making the world white in some way. It says, really directly, that primitive people are the people who decorate, and that the natural course of progress in man is to remove this decorative impulse from our psyche, and that if you provided, quote-unquote, primitive people with the opportunity not to ornament their bodies...they ultimately would want to do that- which is a really strange idea. I think all of it is very colonialist and racist and sexist and fascistic."

- Josiah McElheny