Art and Culture  Obituaries 

Michael Graves, 1934-2015

Posmodern Irony

Jorge Sainz 

He started out white, but soon turned gray; or better, multicolored. Michael Graves, one of the famous New York Five and later indisputable master of postmodern architecture, has passed away at the age of 80, after years on a wheelchair because of a spinal cord infection.

The obituaries are in unison about the prolific nature of his architectural output, the popularity of his domestic objects (especially the Alessi tea kettle, with its red bird on the spout whistling when the water inside boils), and the generosity of his devotion to the disabled, for whom he designed gadgets to make their lives easier. However, Graves’s contribution to architecture of the last quarter of the 20th century is harder to explain, and has its lights and shadows...

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