Welcome to Agincourt, Iowa




Or is it Reflux?

Revisiting a post from thirteen months ago, this afternoon also brought a conversation with Mr Rutter about the prospect for a third and, very likely, final exhibit this fall. October seems to be Agincourt’s month — St Crispin’s Day is on the 25th; and the previous exhibits either opened or closed on the day — so we’ve tentatively set the end of that month as a target. There is so much to do and so much more I hope to “say” that the creative juices have already begun to seep, if not actually flow. Then again, it may simply be an issue of bladder control.

Themes for the previous shows related to the community’s sesquicentennial and to the all-American idea of homecoming, but this year’s will touch on an equally abstract matter: the question of how cities happen. Despite its roots in the minutia of architectural history — an obtuse musing on Louis Sullivan and Carnegie libraries — there is a more universal issue of urban design to be explored, including the current inclination toward a “new urbanism” as an over-response to the heroic Modernism of the 1960s. And while I may be drawn to the simplicities of “Our Town” and “The Truman Show” and “Mayberry F.F.D.” and several iconic episodes of “The Twilight Zone”, I’m suspicious that a species of Trickle-down Economics lurks within.

These are, as they say, perilous times in which the pretty platitudes of Seaside, Florida (the artificial setting for Truman Burbank’s postcard existence) simply don’t bear the scrutiny that changed Pleasantville from black-and-white to blazing color, with a reciprocal loss of innocence. Or was it the attainment of a necessary ambivalent ambiguity that comes with growing up? Is it naïveté to believe that coal jobs will return or fundamentalist wishful-thinking that traditional marriage — whatever the hell that ever was, if it ever was — is coming back? It’s not for me to say.

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