John Brinckerhoff Jackson (1)

After talking to David Lowenthal about John Brinckerhoff Jackson last night, I went back to the Material Culture section of my library to find out more about Brinck as he was known to his students.   He was a remarkable figure:  born of wealthy American parents;  educated in Switzerland and then private schools (Choate and Deerfield) before studying history and literature at Harvard and, briefly, architecture at MIT;  was interested in the baroque;  became interested in the study of landscape, maps and aerial photographs while working as an intelligence officer in World War Two;  inherited a farm in New Mexico from an uncle;  established the magazine Landscape in 1951 which pioneered the study of the vernacular;  taught intermittently at Harvard and Berkeley;  ended his life after retirement doing labouring jobs at gas stations.   Published many volumes of essays, beginning with Landscapes (1970) and including The Necessity for Ruins (1980).   Good holiday reading.

2194_Jackson, John Brinkerhoff.psd

J.B. Jackson in Cienega © Mariana Cook 1990

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One thought on “John Brinckerhoff Jackson (1)

  1. Jackson was very influential in the US, teaching us to appreciate vernacular landscapes in the same way that Venturi and Scott Brown did cityscapes. Having lived in northern New Mexico myself, I really “got” Jackson. I think he is the one who said, late in life, that the blue Walmart shopping bag was the state flag of New Mexico, as it caught on fences and in trees everywhere.

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