S.F.’s Moscone Centergate

The rectangle just off center is "Facsimile," by SD+R. (Architect's Newspaper)

The rectangle just off center is “Facsimile,” by DS+R. (Architect’s Newspaper)

It’s been a while since I had a good excuse to take my nickname for Diller Scofidio + Renfro out for a walk. Dildo Scrofulous + Rent Free.

And I did bring my pooper scooper!

We last heard from the architects of Brown University’s ridiculous Granoff Center for the Creative Arts (an accordian damaged in an earthquake) when they donned their Darth Vader mask to design a replacement for New York’s “beloved” American Folk Art Museum, recently demolished by its evil landlord, the Death Star (the Museum of Modern Art). The firm has gone starchitectural since its project for Brown. Thus it well fits the role of villain.

But today I concede that DS+R is the victim. An art installation called “Facsimile” by the firm at the city’s Moscone Center installed in 2003, before Rent Free joined Dildo and Scorpion (as I once put it, but that was too tame), has been voted off the island by the San Francisco Arts Commission. It was a moving screen that depicted people who stopped to mug before cameras placed within the facility. Actually, it might have been more nuanced than that. It moved on a rail from one end of the building to another. (This reminds me of “Cavorting Inanity,” a neon installation that decorates the garage of the Rhode Island Convention Center.)

The point here is not to praise or condemn the art, the artists or the folks who have decided that it has overstayed its welcome. Rather, the critic who condemned the action in the Architect’s Newspaper failed to mention that the screen had been on the fritz since its installation, and that this is why the 9-1 vote of the commission to remove it was taken. This was “glossed over” (in the apparently accurate words of commenter Mattia) in an article by Edward Dimendberg in the paper’s blog, A/N.

In short, what did he know and when did he know it?

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. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics 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.
This entry was posted in Architects, Architecture, Art and design and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to S.F.’s Moscone Centergate

  1. Iconasty D. Quibble says:

    But David, a moving screen (that shows nothing of great significance) is absolutely in sync with D&F’s work!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.