Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Libeskind Abortion Redux?



What you see here (to your left) is the newest addition to Denver's Museum of Art. The architect was Daniel Libeskind, the world-famous (Gawd! He is so friggin' world-famous!) Polish immigrant who was chosen to provide the re-design of the World Trade Center site in NY.

Forgive me all ya'll artsy types, but this building is an obtuse abortion (a scary, extraterrestrial decidely dead fetus) that, for me, harkens back to some "art for art's sake" notion of what art is or should be.

From Christopher L.C.E. Witcombe:

" As the 19th century progressed, the exercise of artistic freedom became fundamental to progressive modernism. Artists began to seek freedom not just from the rules of academic art, but from the demands of the public. Soon it was claimed that art should be produced not for the public's sake, but for art's sake.

"Art for Art's Sake is basically a call for release from the tyranny of meaning and purpose. From a progressive modernist's point of view, it was a further exercise of freedom. It was also a ploy, another deliberate affront to bourgeois sensibility which demanded art with meaning or that had some purpose such as to instruct, or delight, or to moralize, and generally to reflect in some way their own purposeful and purpose-filled world. A progressive modernist painter like James Abbott McNeill Whistler, for example, blithely stated that his art satisfied none of those things. "

Okay. I'm bourgeois. Can't brush that off my shoulders like dandruff. I wreak of it.

Thing is, though, that some "elite" types who make-up what is called the, "Civic Center Conservancy," paid Mister Libeskind $75,000 to provide a plan for the redo of one of Denver's most coveted historically significant spaces, Civic Center Park, part of which is provided in the picture above on the right.

Civic Center Park was built during the "City Beautiful" movement that occurred during the infancy of the twentieth century. Public/private partnerships became the moving force behind the beautification of cities throughout America with parks and fountains and esplanades and pavilions and flowers and grass and, well, you get the point. Fat cats contributed enormous amounts of money in an effort to make American cities beautiful.

Well, Denver's Civic Center Park--like most other parks in the city, not to mention the entirety of the city of Denver's infrastructure--is deteriorating due to neglect in maintenance which, of course, is due to a lack of money to provide that maintenance which, of course, is due to our current Mayor, John Hickenlooper's (and prior mayors) grand schemes for "more important" general obligation bond projects like, for example, a new jail, rather than an aggressive plan to combat the deteriorization of the city's infrastructure, including its precious parks.

Okay. That said, let me tell you that the $75,000 paid to Libeskind produced what has become a "secret" conceptual "vision" for Civic Center Park. This vision includes what the Rocky Mountain News tells us is:

"There amid the park's classic, century-old City Beautiful design, Libeskind envisioned a spreading, shallow pond that would eliminate the great lawn. It would be drained for special events and possibly become an ice skating rink in the winter.

"A 330-foot tower would spiral from the center of the park, with an elevator that would whisk visitors to an Eiffel Tower-style observation platform.


"A new cafe kiosk with a shiplike prow would jut 30 feet over Broadway, with a twin kiosk protruding over 14th Avenue.

"A metal 'lightning bolt' bridge would be built over West Colfax Avenue, a pedestrian link to the 16th Street Mall area."

Um, nope. Libeskind's vision and the "Civic Center Conservancy," (which, incidentally is the epitome of a euphamistic moniker) can take a flying leap.

Helen Kuykendall, a senior city parks planner who serves on the Civic Center Conservancy, said in a Rocky Mountain News article that, "We want to take the City Beautiful principles and reinterpret them for the 21st century. That's why it is valid to be open to the ideas of an architect with Libeskind's stature."

Nope. Ain't buyin' it Helen. Civic Center Park represents much, much more than a playground for the likes of Daniel Libeskind to flaunt his "genius." Civic Center Park requires the gentle, loving, seriously motivated care of those who understand history, who understand the preservation of history, who understand the necessity to maintain history.

Civic Center Park does not need the plopping of another Libeskind (bloody awful) abortion into it's pristine midst.




1 comment:

Lucien said...

Come come Christopher, a little more openmindedness. Although I wouln't want to say that any god should have all the freedom he can claim.