2. But his assessment of Frank Gehrys architectural proposal itself is another matter.
3. He belittles it and calls it kitsch. He equates it with Disneyland (and doesn't intend it as a compliment). He implies that it's an inferior artistic product of a less than serious architectural mind. The problem is, as the scene from Searching for Bobby Fisher so beautifully expresses (see epigraph above), how would he know? For that matter, even if he were to say it's great, how would he know? He has no instruction in this field as far as I know, does he? His opinion may be entertaining, but surely it's not to be taken seriously.
4. Unless, of course, he were to step over that important line. For example, if he were to set his ignorance in motionand his comments raise the specter of this ironic possibilityand become the Ellsworth-Toohey-like voice of the NYO (Toohey is the journalistic arch-villain in Ayn Rand's melodramatic but-oh-so-fabulous The Fountainhead) right here in this far-cry-from-anything-approaching-a-New-Millenium-2001-architectural-avant-garde City and lead or encourage a crusade of self-appointed architectural-aesthetic police to stop it, that would be an example of going too far. As it is, not content to diss Gehry's advanced limits-exploding quasi-techno-futurist expressionistic project, Kramer ends by calling for "firm resistance" to it. Hmmmmm, let's see, am I missing something here? Wheres his call for resistancefirm or otherwisewhile all the zillion-dollar mediocre hack-jobs that pass for architecture (not to mention the B level buildings by non-hack architects such as Polshek, Stern, and Tschumisee my additional comments at the bottom of this page) are built in this town every day? I get it, only now, when the certifiable Howard Roark-type genius comes along and proposes to make the real deal in the form of a building so wildly in advance of normal comprehensionto make the first guaranteed contribution to stand-the-test-of-time world-class civic architecture on this island in almost fifty yearsdoes our NYO friend choose to chime in with his clueless we-sure-wouldn't-want-to-have-anything-as-great-as-Bilbao's-got two cents. Like Sonny Liston said, "Life a funny thing." Go figure.
5. So, you know what I say? Hilton, even if you do have the credentials to evaluate this project, you're wrong. So please stay out of it. Or at least keep a low profile. Here's an idea: Use your NYO/New Criterion-clout to take up the fight to build it but keep it empty. You could be the one to secure an indefinite loan from MoMA so that Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" is the only thing exhibited for the first year of the new Gugg's opening. In fact, all kidding aside, I can't think of a better way to celebrate the centenary of the 1907 of-course-everybody-hated-it-at-first-and-most-people-today-still-don't-get-it Picasso than a 2007 pas de deux between new Guggenheim and the painting to which it perhaps most symbolically owes its dead-serious strange-making genius and explosive artistic freedom.
6. Sure, the project's got problems. Check out my essay The Ontology of Form: Metaphor and the Camouflage of Abstraction (otherwise known as "The Leviathan and the Water Lily") to read about some of them. (I maintain that the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum's imagery, organization, and form is based (and consciously so) on a whale; and that the Manhattan Guggenheim, though less intentionalized, is similarly subject to various readings of architecture as inhabitable hyperbolized bio-botanical life.) Sure, Gehry needs to redesign a bitmaybe a lot. But I'm talking about throwing out the bath water not the baby.
7. I mean no disrespect, Hilton, but let's hope that your ignorance meets with firm resistance.
8. [Oh, and one more thing...01.01.01] The fact is: The NYO needs an informed architectural critic/observer. The fact is (as I suggested to my former student Eric Fauerbach, see his letter below, which I edited and reshaped, with his permission, to take the form you see hereand which was published as such, sans mention of Madison Gray, funny enough, in the letters section of the December 25 issue of the NYO): The NYO ought to lead the crusade, to champion the cause, to be the voice of enlightenment on the pro-side of this affair.
In other words...
The NYO could choose to be the journalistic advocate of this genuine, unfettered, master-work of serious, intelligent, joie-de-vivre architecture. I can't wait to see the NYO rise to the occasion and speak for this Metropolis on behalf of this yes-keep-working-on-it-because-it-isn't-quite-right-yet-Frank-but-we're-behind-you-when-all-is-said-and-done work of Architecture with a capital "A."
9. See additional comments below: i.e.|MADISON GRAY Responds to ML, Architect, London:
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