May 1, 2013

Video shows why the proposed memorial to Dwight Eisenhower as designed by Frank Gehry should never be built

The current proposed Washington memorial to President Eisenhower designed by Frank Gehry is a de-constuctionist horror that even the family opposes.  George Weigel called it "ghastly"

Quoting biographer Steven Ambrose's description, “Dwight Eisenhower was a great and good man. He was one of the outstanding leaders of the Western world of [the 20th] century,” Weigel calls the proposed memorial an "historical and aesthetic travesty".

The present Eisenhower Memorial design, by postmodernist Frank Gehry, has virtually nothing to do with the Dwight David Eisenhower of history. Plans call for Ike to be memorialized in sculpture as a barefoot farmboy on the Great Plains: not the great wartime leader; not the soldier-diplomat; not the chief executive of the United States who presided over eight years of peace and prosperity. The Gehry conceit seems both obvious and entirely in tune with the postmodern deconstruction of history: There are no great men; there are no great virtues; there is no great striving; nor is there great accomplishment or great service to others. No one, visiting the Eisenhower Memorial as designed by Frank Gehry, would have the slightest reason to grasp the truth of the man himself, as Stephen Ambrose once described him:

As a soldier, he was, as George C. Marshall said at the end of the war, everything that the U.S. Army hoped for in its finest products — professionally competent, well versed in the history of war, decisive, well disciplined, courageous, dedicated, and popular with his men, his subordinates, and his superiors. His leadership qualities also included a high degree of intelligence, integrity, commitment to basic principles, dignity, organizational genius, tremendous energy, and diplomatic ability. As a man, he was good-looking, considerate of and concerned about others, loyal to friends and family, given to terrible rages (which he learned to control), ambitious, thin-skinned and sensitive to criticism, stubborn and inflexible about his habits, an avid sportsman and sports fan, modest (but never falsely so), almost embarrassingly unsophisticated in his musical, artistic, and literary tastes, intensely curious about people and places, often refreshingly naïve, fun-loving — in short, a wonderful man to know or be around. Nearly everyone who knew him liked him immensely, many — including some of the most powerful men in the world — to the point of adulation.

None of this is conveyed by the sculpture of a barefoot boy on the plains. None of it is conveyed by the other elements in the Gehry design: 80-foot-tall, nondescript cylindrical posts (they can’t even be properly described as pillars) holding up perforated metal “tapestries,” creating what Gehry himself once called a “theater for cars.” But what does a “theater for cars,” or any other kind of postmodernist knock-off of a Fifties drive-in, have to do with creating a memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme Allied commander who planned the invasion of Normandy, the president who ended the Korean War and who proposed “Open Skies” as a means to lower the temperature of the Cold War?

A new  video slams the unbuilt memorial for its $142 million cost and impermanent design.

The design for a proposed Eisenhower Memorial has inspired much heartache and anger among historians, architects, veterans and even the Eisenhower family, who say this wasn't the way they imagined a monument to the 34th president and D-Day commander.



The video, created by the National Monuments Foundation in Atlanta and shared with Whispers Tuesday, uses digital modeling to show viewers exactly what the unbuilt monument would look like, and the foundation says the results are troubling.
Posted by Jill Fallon at May 1, 2013 9:44 AM | Permalink