e x h i b i t i o n s
d e - b a i t
"This is the worst example yet seen of a formula that has helped to drain the life out of New York architecture in recent years: the use of public art to cover up for uninspired buildings." (Herbert Muschamp, nyt_00.01.02)
"What we also have here is a crisis for the Municipal Art Society, the venerable civic organization that brokered this unhappy consortium of art, architecture and real estate development. ... Their role in the Union Square fiasco deserves a close look." (Herbert Muschamp, nyt_00.01.02)
"Oculus, a newsletter put out by the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, is not known for beating up on its members. ... Translation: artistic quality and ambition count for less than local standing." (Herbert Muschamp, nyt_00.01.02)
"... the newsletter displayed the kind of artistic protectionism that has prevailed here for some time. It allows less talented commercial New York firms to think that they are as good as the field's most fertile minds.
Or perhaps even better than them.
Aren't the stars of architecture merely fashionable? goes the unstated argument.
Aren't our plodding local talents more down-to-earth, more socially responsible, less captivated by passing fancy?" (Herbert Muschamp, nyt_00.01.02)
"The Municipal Art Society has done little to break this all-in-the-family stranglehold. ... I leave aside for now the ethical issues raised by the organization's practice of recommending architects (including its own board members) to commercial developers.
But the stunning provincialism of New York architecture since the late 1960's is a cultural scandal that public art programs cannot cover up, any more than a cloud of smoke can mask the banal design of One Union Square South." (Herbert Muschamp, nyt_00.01.02)
"Playing it safe is what urbanism is all about these days. ...
Who can argue with preservation? Wouldn't that be tantamount to joining the vandals who pulled down Penn Station? And who but a Jesse Helms would oppose public art?" (Herbert Muschamp, nyt_00.01.02)
"Yet between them [public art and preservation], these two worthy causes have helped to generate a hostile climate for architecture, the most public of all arts. At Battery Park City, for example, an innovative public art program served as a fig leaf over the reactionary thinking that produced the development's retrograde, ersatz pre-war buildings." (Herbert Muschamp, nyt_00.01.02)
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