The ads in the real estate section of the Sunday New York Times are a barometer of perceived need: what we think about when we are at our hungriest, our most grasping, our most insecure. Like the Times’ wedding announcements—which are now detailed narratives about love at first sight, missed opportunities, and second chances—the ads are a literary form dealing primarily with desire. With little more than newsprint and ink, they dangle the hope that we will someday carve out a permanent place in this turbulent city. They whisper the word “stability.”
Rather than being an historical movement from the first half of the 20th century, left over and reheated, we think of Modernism as a frame of mind. To us the M word connotes an honesty and curiosity about methods and materials, a belief that mass production and beauty are not mutually exclusive, and a certain optimism not just about the future, but about the present.
When graphic designers Jeanette and Mike Abbink left behind their loft in San Francisco—with collected ephemera, a voluminous library, and a parcel of paintings in tow—they didn’t know where they would land in the Big Apple. One renovation and one Welsh terrier later, they’re back on track in Brooklyn.