A Cornell Professor Writes About "A Death in Texas"

I received an email yesterday from Josh Wallaert, the web editor for Places, which is described as an interdisciplinary journal of contemporary architecture, landscape, and urbanism, with particular emphasis on the public realm as physical place and social ideal. Josh wanted to draw attention to a new essay by Cornell University architecture professor Jim Williamson.

I was a bit skeptical that an article emanating from an Ivy League school would be of much interest to Gazette readers, but I clicked over...and think you should do the same. With an enigmatic title, What Passes for Beauty: A Death in Texas recounts the author's experience designing a grave site for a West Texas rancher while working for a firm in Midland during the 1970s.

It's an anecdote that accurately captures some of the spirit of the region, both in terms of the character of the land and of its ranching inhabitants. It's also an interesting coincidence that Professor Williamson's on-campus address is Sibley Hall, given that the Sibley ranching family has a long and storied history in West Texas.

The only minor quibble I have with the article is that it's apparently been a while since Williamson has visited the Permian Basin, given his observation that the oil is now "mostly gone." He would likely be amazed at the current vitality in the oil and gas industry in our region.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on January 5, 2011 6:28 AM.

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