Ideas: The Phantom of Utopia

Geniuses, crackpots and dictators through the ages have pursued the delusion of human perfectibility

From designs for Renaissance forts to a replica of the sexy robot from Fritz Lang's Metropolis, 1926. From baroque engravings of New World cannibals in grass huts to pictures of yuppies enjoying a stroll through Celebration, Disney's "ideal town" in Florida. From Nazi racial propaganda to unalluring photos of early kibbutzim in Israel. From Stalinist kitsch in the '30s to Haight-Ashbury peace-and-love kitsch in the '60s. This intriguing range of objects and images is contained in "Utopia: The Search for the Ideal Society in the Western World," the sprawling show that kicks off the 2000-01 exhibition season at the New York...

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