How vulnerable is Gehry’s Ike?

Frank Gehry shows memorial design to members of Eisenhower Memorial Commission in 2011, when confidence in its prospects was still very high. (beloblog.com)

Frank Gehry shows memorial design to members of Eisenhower Memorial Commission in 2011, when confidence in its prospects was still very high. (beloblog.com)

The industry journal that rules on Capitol Hill is not the Washington Post but Roll Call. Here it publishes “It’s Time to Bury Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Design,” an assessment of the prospects for Frank Gehry’s not just ridiculous but sinister proposal for a memorial that, above all, disrespects the memory of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The author is Justin Shubow, who heads the National Civic Art Society that has led opposition to the Gehry design. Shubow points out that Congress has essentially defunded the memorial commission pushing Gehry’s design (its chairman’s a Gehry friend going way back – to three jobs for Gehry). How do you spell conflict of interest? Congress has stripped all but a million of the commission’s budget. It not begin construction until it has raised 100 percent of the private funding it needs – of which it has very little, the taxpayer thus far being its major “donor.” The memorial design and review process is heading in reverse – the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts seems about to back away from an earlier okay of the design, and the National Capital Planning Commission has not yet voted in favor of it. The Eisenhower family is four-square against it, as Ike would be if he were alive.

And finally (though the above certainly does not sum up the Gehry design’s process woes) there is Shubow and his NCAS plugging away, marshaling a dreadnaught of opposition to torpedo the obnoxious design. His piece in Roll Call suggests that the death of a thousand cuts is well under way.

Huzzah!

(I wrote above that Gehry’s design is sinister. By that I mean that his design is intended to take down the tradition of classical beauty that characterizes the past monuments that have made Washington so beautiful, great and ennobling. Here is my first of, I think, four or five columns standing athwart that ignoble endeavor.)

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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2 Responses to How vulnerable is Gehry’s Ike?

  1. This may be the reason why many companies worldwide choose to outsource this content writing jobs to reputable and reliable content writing company situated in India. For more information inside subject who may be the person they should utilize or what is the exact step readers need to take after reading that article.

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  2. It is the scale of the thing that immediately bothered me. It is designed to be looked at from a considerable distance, perhaps from a passing car. What are the “tapestries” like for a person standing next to them? Like many “starchitect” projects, they ignore the experience of the pedestrian on the sidewalk.

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