Editor's note: There's been quite a bit of controversy over architect Frank Gehry's proposed design for a memorial for Dwight D. Eisenhower. As the architect of the newly re-opened Weisman Art Museum, I thought you might want to know what else he's up to. The below article comes from Brett Zongker of the Associated Press.
Renowned architect Frank Gehry explained his ambitious design for a future Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial to architecture colleagues Tuesday night, saying criticism of the
sweeping scale of his project honoring the 34th president has mostly been fair.
A rendering of Frank Gehry's proposed memorial for Dwight D. Eisenhower, as it was presented in March, 2010.
Image from Gehry Partners
Famous for his striking structures with undulating exteriors, Gehry said his design is evolving for his first project in Washington. He explained his concept to the editor of Architectural Record and others at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
The design draws on Eisenhower's homecoming speech after World War II when the war hero spoke of a barefoot boy from Kansas who went on to fame in Europe. The design would include large metal tapestries depicting trees, grain silos and "Ike's" home in Kansas. Those tapestries and huge columns designed to uphold them have drawn criticism from some quarters.
"The people are asking good questions," Gehry said of his concept. He added that the project is undergoing a complex but "very intelligent" approval process required for national memorials.
The memorial also would include a landscaped park with other features marking Eisenhower's presidency and war years. It would be built just off the National Mall among buildings linked to Eisenhower's legacy, including the National Air and Space Museum
and the U.S. Education Department.
Organizers hope to complete the memorial in 2015 at a cost of $90 million to $110 million.
Susan Eisenhower, the president's granddaughter, recently issued a statement to The Washington Post on behalf of her family, saying they have concerns about the "concept for the memorial, as well as the scope and scale." It did not note any specific objections.
"We feel that now is the time to get these elements right - before any final design approvals are given and before any ground is broken," the statement read.
Eisenhower's grandchildren have requested a meeting with Gehry and officials from the Eisenhower Memorial Commission. David Eisenhower, the president's grandson, is a member of the commission.
"We're clearly going to make them happy," Gehry told The Associated Press after his remarks Tuesday night.
The grandchildren may have a certain image of their grandfather that they want to share, he said.
Dan Feil, executive architect for the project, said the memorial group is arranging a meeting with the family.
"They need to be involved, and we're trying to do that," Feil said, adding that it won't necessarily affect the memorial's timeline.
The 80-foot-tall columns measuring 11 feet in diameter that would hold up the memorial's tapestries have been the main point of contention. One member of the National Capital Planning Commission called them "gargantuan."
Gehry's selection of Kansas imagery for the tapestries also has been questioned.
Architect John Hart, who represents Maryland on the commission, has said earlier that he didn't see enough of Eisenhower in the design. "I'm not seeing the celebration of the man ... in the depiction of a rural landscape," he said.
Gehry said Tuesday evening that his idea was to build a tapestry that tells a story as tapestries have been used in generations past. The architect said he traveled as far away as Japan to learn how to accomplish that. "And I didn't have a plan B," Gehry told
His goal, he said, is to capture the story of "Ike."
"He was a very modest guy - but tough," Gehry said. "And he did great things for this country. I didn't know it when he was president."
During the design competition for the memorial, Gehry began reading everything Eisenhower, and "I really got to know the guy," he said.
After leading the Allied forces in Europe in World War II, Eisenhower went back to Abilene, Kan., a place that he loved and that formed his character, Gehry added.
"He didn't beat his chest and say `I won the war,"' Gehry noted.
The design will evolve before a Dec. 1 meeting of the commission when organizers plan to seek preliminary approval of Gehry's design.
Gehry said he has already made changes from criticism he's heard. But he disagrees with those who believe he should focus more on war because Eisenhower would want it to be modest, not "overblown," Gehry said.
Another federal panel, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, has commented favorably on Gehry's design and supported the concept.
The memorial would follow a monument to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which on Sunday became the first memorial honoring a black leader to be dedicated on the National Mall. The Eisenhower Memorial would be the first to a president since the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial opened in 1997.
Minnesota troubador Bob Dylan is causing a stir in the New York gallery scene.
Evidently his paintings, now on display at the Gogosian Gallery, were billed as "painted from life" from his travels in Asia, when really they should have been billed as "painted from Life magazine." His paintings are almost exact copies of old photographs, some of which are in the public domain, some not.
On the left, Bob Dylan's painting "Opium"; on the right a photograph by Léon Busy, taken in Vietnam in 1915.
Images from Gogosian Gallery and Musee Albert Kahn, respectively, via ARTINFO
The evidence is overwhelming - click here to see a slideshow of the paintings next to the photographs at ArtInfo - and it's also not the first time Dylan's been accused of plagiarism, according to NPR reporter Joel Rose:
A song from his 2001 album, Love and Theft, lifted these lines from the Junichi Saga novel Confessions of a Yakuza:
My old man, he's like some feudal lord
He's got more lives than a cat
I've never seen him quarrel with my mother even once
Things come alive or they fall flat
Dylan was also caught borrowing quotes and anecdotes from Mark Twain, Marcel Proust, Jack London and a host of other sources in his memoir, Chronicles: Volume One.
Fans and critics largely defended him in those cases, but this time even some longtime Dylan watchers are dismayed
Michael Gray, a blogger and author of the Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, says he's disappointed about what Dylan has presented as his own work.
"Lots of people paint from photographs," he says. "But ... the entire composition, the exact composition of a painting -- Dylan has copied that. That just seems to me to betray a lack of ideas, a lack of originality about the whole thing."
Neither Dylan nor the Gagosian would grant interviews for this story, and the gallery no longer claims that the show is based solely on Dylan's travels in Asia.
What do you think? Is Dylan using the show as an opportunity to put on a performance, and challenge our ideas of what's original? Or is he simply making money off of other people's images?(3 Comments)
Editor's note: If you've been following this blog in the past two days, you know that there are architects and preservationists currently protesting the redesign process of Peavey Plaza. Here's the latest from MPR's Brandt Williams on today's unveiling of the proposed redesign.
A partial view of Peavey Plaza at it appears today in downtown Minneapolis.
MPR Photo/Brandt Williams
Minneapolis city officials today unveiled the design for the renovation of Peavey Plaza. The 40-year-old plaza, which is adjacent to Orchestra Hall downtown, needs repairs and updates. Mayor RT Rybak says the new plaza will comply with laws that require accessibility and sustainability. He says the renovation will get rid of the steep stairways, and will feature a fountain that won't waste thousands of gallons of water.
We've learned that we can do fountains that are much shallower, that have the same impact, but are much more sustainable. Those of us who remember back during a drought about 15, or so years ago, when this was turned off, know that those droughts in the new world are going to happen more. So sustainability needs to be part of this work as well.
Peavey Plaza as it might appear, looking north, winter
Artist rendering courtesy of Oslund & Associates
Architect Tom Oslund says the new plaza fountain will be easy to drain, in order to make room for more seating for events.
The idea of a public plaza and how it is used, designed and programmed are far more sophisticated and complex today than they were when Peavey was conceived.
View of Peavey Plaza looking south, summer
Artist rendering courtesy of Oslund & Associates
The price tag for the renovation is estimated at between 8 and 10 million dollars. City officials say most of the money will come from private sources. An open house later today at Orchestra Hall will show the public the new design for the Peavey Plaza renovation.