Charles Jencks (2)

The other thing which Jill Nicholls’s film about Charles Jencks conveyed very clearly was his career switch in the mid-1990s, following the death of his second wife, Maggie Keswick and his own prostate cancer, when he stopped being so much of an architectural writer and critic, apparently a bit disillusioned by what had become of postmodernism (this was demonstrated by Michael Graves’s Swan Hotel for Disney World), and devoted himself instead, first, to the commissioning of the Maggie’s Centres, an astonishing achievement – there are now thirty three – and to the construction of grand earthworks, of which the first was at Portrack, their house in Dumfriesshire. I had not appreciated how many there are: there’s the one outside the Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh and another I haven’t seen in Jupiter Artland, and one in South Korea. But there is also one I didn’t know about at Crawick near New Cumnock in Ayrshire which looks properly prehistoric. A visit calls.


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