Harbison publications us via ruins and fragments, either historic and glossy, visible and textual, displaying us how they're the most important to realizing our present approach and the way we arrived right here. First taking a look at old fragments, he examines the methods we've recovered, restored, and exhibited them as artistic endeavors. Then he strikes directly to modernist structure and the ways in which it seeks a fragmentary shape, analyzing sleek initiatives which have been designed into latest ruins, corresponding to the Castelvecchio in Verona, Italy and the reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin. From there he explores literature and the works of T. S. Eliot, Montaigne, Coleridge, Joyce, and Sterne, and the way they've got used fragments because the origin for developing new paintings. Likewise he examines the visible arts, from Schwitters’ collages to Ruskin’s drawings, in addition to cinematic works from Sergei Eisenstein to Julien Temple, by no means shying from extra planned creators of damage, from Gordon Matta-Clark to numerous graffiti artists.
From old to trendy instances and throughout each possible kind of artwork, Harbison takes a poetic examine how ruins have provided us a fashion of figuring out heritage and the way they've got enabled us to create the new.