Update on Gehry Ike design

Frank Gehry. (news.artnet.com)

Frank Gehry. (news.artnet.com)

A press release summarizing the proposed U.S. House of Representatives’ appropriations bill for several departments says it zeros out funding for the Eisenhower Memorial Commission. According to Justin Shubow, president of the National Civic Art Society, Congress has eliminated federal funding for construction of the memorial for the past two years; this year, if the Senate goes along, Congress will kill funds not just for construction but for the commission itself. Here is the line from the press release:

Eisenhower Memorial Commission – The bill provides no funding for the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, extends the authority to build on the present site, and requires that all construction funds be appropriated before construction begins.

That the legislation would extend authority to build the monument on the same site suggests that Congress may be gearing up to have the General Services Administration sponsor a new (and presumably fair) design competition to memorialize the nation’s 34th president and commander of allied forces in Europe during World War II.

Congress had already given it several score of millions before shutting the spigot two years ago, so the Ike commission probably has enough money in its kitty to hang on, paying staff to write nasty press releases about people who oppose the Gehry design. The fact that the bill also says the commission cannot start building the memorial until the entire construction cost has been raised is another one of its thousand cuts, which are mounting up.

What’s not mounting up is private funding. Not long ago the commission spent hundreds of thousands on fundraising – more than the amount raised!

News of this legislation certainly should please all who want the Gehry design to go away. The Great Architect has already said he would disassociate himself from the project if, in an effort to compromise the design back into Congress’s good graces, its gargantuan steel “tapestries” are eliminated, as recently proposed by Rep. Darrell Issa, who has overseen several congressional investigations into the Gehry fiasco.

Now, I don’t want to start beating a dead horse too soon, but the way to get a memorial to Ike built bestest and fastest is to take Gehry up on his offer.

Here’s Artsy.net’s Gehry link: https://www.artsy.net/artist/frank-gehry

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. 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 fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and 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 invest your prose with even more style and clarity, 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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