Clyfford Still Museum Denver, Colorado I have never been strongly attracted to the feverish visionary heights that can be reached by a prophetic voice. Of course I feel the power of the Book of Lamentations, and Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, and Wagner’s Ring, and Blake’s apocalyptic extravaganzas. But there are other registers that touch me more deeply, or at least more directly. I think a convincing argument can be made that the prophetic mode does not come naturally to the visual artist, surely not to the visual artist in the modern world.
A FRIEND RECENTLY TOLD me that his most important pedagogical tool as an architect is this maxim: the architect's primary ethical responsibility is to be the guardian of the public realm, in contrast to the myriad others who currently configure our built landscape— clients, politicians, contractors, developers, and NIMBY-driven "community action" committees.
Breaking Ground: Adventures in Life and Architecture By Daniel Libeskind (Riverhead, 288 pp., $27.95) I. 'The most conspicuous thing about memorials is precisely that one does not notice them," Robert Musil famously wrote. We can walk along a street every day for months, getting to know each crack in the sidewalk, and yet be astonished one day to discover a plaque announcing that "from eighteen-hundred-something to eighteen-hundred-something-else the unforgettable Someone-or-other lived and worked here." Yet memorials, Musil continues, must not be allowed to fade into the background, because t
For those of us who believe that architecture is an unfailingly accurate mirror of a society's values, the current state of the proposed redevelopment of Ground Zero offers the most graphic evidence of how little things have changed in this country since September 11, 2001. This is not due, of course, to a lack of attempted involvement by the public in general or the architectural profession in particular.