Dave Hickey discusses John Ruskin (November 14, 1990)

After being introduced by Coy Howard, Dave Hickey discusses John Ruskin, arguing that Ruskin’s writings have a lot to offer the discipline of architecture today. Hickey gives an account of Ruskin’s relationship with contemporary religious thinking.

Hickey reads from John Ruskin’s The Seven Lamps of Architecture, The Stones of Venice, and “The Flamboyant Architecture of the Valley of the Somme.” Hickey explains that Ruskin is concerned with precisely differentiating between nature, culture, material and language. Hickey adds further distinctions between seeing and knowing, arguing that what we see, we signify, and what we know, we conceptualize.

Hickey discusses John Ruskin’s definition of architecture, especially as it relates to novelty and style. Hickey emphasizes the values of curiosity, sympathy, admiration, and wit.

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