Posts tagged with "US Commission of Fine Arts":

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Trump appoints opponent of Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial to D.C. planning agency

President Trump has appointed National Civic Art Society President Justin Shubow to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, an independent federal agency that oversees the design and construction of all buildings, monuments, and memorials in Washington, D.C. Shubow will join six other presidential appointees on the commission to review all new projects in accordance with the 1901–1902 McMillan Plan, which laid out the National Mall and surrounding monuments. The commission was started in 1910 and has since assisted the District in building out its ever-evolving landscape.  Shubow made headlines in 2014 when he authored a 150-page critique of the controversial Eisenhower Memorial competition. The National Civic Art Society report detailed Shubow’s disapproval of Frank Gehry’s plans to design a monument dedicated to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. According to an executive summary of the document, Shubow and the Eisenhower family viewed the proposal as a disgrace to the 34th U.S. President:
“The Memorial’s titanic ‘columns’ tower over the stone reliefs of Eisenhower and the puny Ike statute. The result is a Leviathan Memorial swallowing a small-fry Eisenhower. The behemoth commemorates Gehry’s ego, not Eisenhower’s greatness and humility.”
In 2012, Shubow testified to the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks in an effort to pass a bill that would nix Gehry’s design for the memorial once and for all. The bill didn’t pass, and the Commission of Fine Arts approved a revised preliminary design for the project. Congress appropriated $150 million to the memorial in 2017 and the city broke ground on construction last fall. It is scheduled to be finished on May 8, 2020. Shubow has an extensive background discussing architecture, having written about the field for Forbes and served as the current executive director of Rebuild Penn Station. He’s also lectured widely on architecture at universities across the U.S., although he was not trained in the field.
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The Saga Continues: Congress Rejects Funding for Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial

Despite earlier indications of progress, Frank Gehry's design for a planned Eisenhower Memorial continues to encounter stumbling blocks. In November the US Commission of Fine Arts asked Mr. Gehry to make eight revisions to the proposal, a request that was then echoed and amplified in January when Congress turned down the Eisenhower Memorial Commission's request for $51 million in funding, a denial that was accompanied by a message imploring the architect "to work with all constituencies—including Congress and the Eisenhower family—as partners in the planning and design process.” The plan's most prominent feature, large metallic tapestries depicting the landscape scenes from the former president's childhood Kansas upbringing, has also proved to be its greatest sticking point. Some have suggested that the modern and outsize screens, coupled with the overall scale of the site, are not in keeping with Ike's humble and traditional image. The design has produced enough indignation in some circles that the National Civic Art Society launched a new competition for the commission courting more classically conceived memorials. Others have responded negatively to the narrative painted by the memorial, suggesting that the emphasis on the man's childhood found in the tapestries and many of the accompanying relief sculptures draw attention away from his later achievements as a public figure. Many of Eisenhower's family-members have been particularly vocal in their opposition to Gehry's vision. The closed process involved in the architect's initial selection for the project has come under fire for being undemocratic. The budget attached to the design has done little to assuage doubters, and Congress' leaves the Memorial Commission with $30 million in the bank for a structure estimated to cost over four times that amount. Though Gehry is to have responded to the CFA's request for adjustments, Congress was not impressed with the re-designs that bear a very close resemblance to their controversial predecessors. Some see more than a hint of ego in Gehry's stubbornness; an unnamed official affiliated with the Memorial claimed the largely unchanged plans reflected "tremendous arrogance." Responding to the latest development Representative Rob Bishop of Utah, chairman of the subcommittee on public lands and environmental regulation said, “To me this is very disappointing. It looks like tweaks here and there. It still means Gehry has not done what Congress asked him to do—to work with all the constituents, Congress, and the family.”