ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY:  ‘Interior Race Theory:’ Your Home Is Likely ‘Racist,’ White People.

According to interior designer Jacquelyn Ogorchukwu Iyamah, people can creatively resist “structures of domination in their homes by challenging themselves to think about the various ways that politics are embedded into the built environment and encouraging more ‘racial wellness’ within the spaces they create” — particularly concerning the objects they display.

Iyamah also warns that people of color shouldn’t emulate white people in the interior design of their homes.

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The Use of the Color White

You knew we’d get around to this, right?

In addition to the unforgivable sin of decorating a home with “racist objects” like “mammy jars, colonial busts, war memorabilia, and Confederate flags,” Iyamah argues that the use of white paint is just as “racist.”

The use of the color white has been weaponized to symbolize purity…. There’s [sic] a lot of ways that this theory can deconstruct conservative values that really align with whiteness.

So there you have it. Before you buy that next can of white paint to, say, repaint your kitchen, remember: the color white has been “weaponized to symbolize purity.”

In the introduction to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Furniture and Furniture Drawings, written by Ludwig Glaeser in 1977 and available for decades afterward in the book shop in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Glaeser wrote:

It is hard for anyone today to realize how obsessed the modern revolutionaries were with all aspects of hygiene. It was not just a rationalization but firmly held belief that the ever-larger picture windows would guarantee healthier living conditions. For the same reason, the flat roofs decreed by modern architecture were to serve as sun decks and exercise facilities, which, for instance, in a preliminary scheme for Le Corbusier’s Villa Stein at Garches even Included a jogging track. The psycho-history of modern furniture still has to be written, but one can easily imagine the childhood experiences shared by the generation of Gropius, Mies, and Le Corbusier. The bourgeois interiors of the 1880s, the decade of their births, must have appeared from the toddler’s vantage point, like a rainforest: innumerable richly machine-carved legs of pseudo-Renaissance chairs and tables, tasseled plush velvet upholstery and curtains, which kept rooms in a permanent penumbra. The great clean-up the founders of modern architecture were to conduct assumed all the dimensions of a classic confrontation between generations, and as such was also steeped in adolescent morality. Stucco facades, stuffy interiors, and ornament per se were seen as equal to bourgeois hypocrisy, while beauty, if still acceptable at all, was only valid as the “splendor of truth,” in the apocryphal words that Mies liked to quote.

The result, as Tom Wolfe wrote in his classic 1981 polemic From Bauhaus to Our House were plenty of white upon white upon white rooms:

Every new $900,000 summer house in the north woods of Michigan or on the shore of Long Island has so many pipe railings, ramps, hob-tread metal spiral stairways, sheets of industrial plate glass, banks of tungsten-halogen lamps, and white cylindrical shapes, it looks like an insecticide refinery. I once saw the owners of such a place driven to the edge of sensory deprivation by the whiteness & lightness & leanness & cleanness & bareness & spareness of it all. They became desperate for an antidote, such as coziness & color. They tried to bury the obligatory white sofas under Thai-silk throw pillows of every rebellious, iridescent shade of magenta, pink, and tropical green imaginable. But the architect returned, as he always does, like the conscience of a Calvinist, and he lectured them and hectored them and chucked the shimmering little sweet things out. 

In 2015, Jonathan Petropoulos wrote Artists Under Hitler: Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany. Petropoulos noted how eager Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus, and Mies van der Rohe, its last director, were in the mid-1930s to make the switch from international socialism to National Socialism, if only the latter ideology’s boss had called upon them to do so. When he didn’t, both men went on to long and distinguished careers in the US, with Gropius teaching at Harvard, and Mies at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Wolfe was attacked by numerous architectural critics for his broadside against modernism, particularly its founding fathers such as Mies and Gropius, whom Wolfe described as being thought of by American academics, when they arrived in the 1930s as “The White Gods! Come from the skies at last!” But perhaps unwittingly, Iyamah looks to finish the job. On Saturday, we linked to a column headlined, “Why does no one write like Tom Wolfe anymore?” They’re out there – though some don’t even know it yet. Will the Bauhaus survive this latest fusillade on its reputation and design goals?