Modernity theory approaches modern experience as it incorporates a sense of itself as ´modern´ (modernity), along with the possibilities and limitations of representing this in the arts and culture generally (modernism). The book interrogates modernity in the name of a fluid, unsettled, unsettling modernism. As the offspring of the Enlightenment and the Age of Sensibility, modernity is framed here through a cultural aesthetics that highlights not just an instrumental, exploitative approach to the world but the distinctive configuration of embodiment, feeling, and imagination, that we refer to as ´civilization´, in turn both explored and subverted through modernist experimentalism and reflexive thinking in culture and the arts. This discloses the rationalizing pretensions that underlie the modern project and have resulted in the sensationalist, melodramatic conflicts of good and evil that traverse our contemporary world of politics and popular culture alike. This innovative approach permits modernity theory to link otherwise fragmented insights of separate humanities disciplines, aspects of sociology, and cultural studies, by identifying and contributing to a central strand of modern thought running from Kant through Benjamin to the present. One aspect of modernity theory that results is that it cannot escape the paradoxes inherent in reflexive involvement in its own history.
The first book from this celebrated American designer and architect known for creating spaces that balance historic detail and modern elegance. The work of architect and interior designer Lee Ledbetter represents a one-of-a-kind combination of traditional details and chic Modernism. Lee Ledbetter established his practice in New Orleans in 1996 and has developed a body of work that emerges from his ability to incorporate historical precedent as well as regional and environmental context, and his firm has received recognition for its expertise well beyond its Deep South roots. Ledbetter´s interiors and architecture combine a cleanly tailored and bright modernity with the unapologetic embellishments of refined and luxurious decoration. Ledbetter strongly believes design to be a fine art along with painting and sculpture, and he considers placement and scale of furniture, artwork, and lighting as carefully as he does the creation of walls and the spaces they contain. As Mayer Rus, who provides the text for this title, once wrote in House & Garden, ´´Lee Ledbetter rejects the idea that a serious architect cannot be a dedicated decorator as well.´´