Wednesday, September 14, 2016

the last book I ever read (Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, excerpt ten)

from Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus by Rick Perlstein:

The future would embarrass the 1964 World’s Fair. One pavilion “demonstrated” the safe harnessing of nuclear fusion. The fair’s megalomaniacal promoter, Robert Moses, gutted many a peaceful Queens neighborhood to lay down his new Van Wyck Expressway in time for the opening (though the streets had been less peaceful since Parents and Taxpayers began agitating in the vicinity against the board of education’s latest busing plan). Architect Philip Johnson was given free rein to commission pieces by exciting young artists outside the New York State pavilion. A funny little man called Andy Warhol contributed Thirteen Most Wanted Men, a mural consisting of old FBI mug shots, mostly of men who had since been exonerated. No one expected that spitting on J. Edgar Hoover’s good name (instead of producing, say, sweeping, high-gloss, colorful abstract shapes) was something exciting young artists would care to do. Moses ordered the mural whitewashed. Though the Unisphere, the enormous stainless-steel globe at the center of the grounds, was not dismantled when its patron, United States Steel, was convicted in a price-fixing scheme.

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