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Monday 02.19.07

« Talk is Cheap, Buy a Beer | Main | Back from Rio »

What would LBJ do?

Nicolai Ouroussoff of the NTY's has denounced the so-called Freedom Tower in his strongest words yet. I absolutely agree and have stated many times before how it is a massive failure of imagination. The only thing that can do real justice to the site, city and nation is a much better design. A clumsy restatement of the empire state building with a blast shield doesn't cut it. I know it's probably too much to ask of the current President but if the state and local governments can't get a developer of a national historical site to do it right it's time for the national government to step in. (then again could they do better? ....uggh it's times like these that I actually yearn for LBJ... yes that is what it has come to)

On a more local public art front Portland Public Art, The Portland Tribune and the Mercury have been on top of the evolving failure of the dragon sculptures in Portland's Chinatown from early on. The thing I keep hearing from some artists who are very familiar with RACC is the "process" is weighted towards expediency. That is a dangerous game although it is a definitely a worthy goal as time = money. It can also Shanghai sophistication.

Also, the problem extends beyond the Chinatown project and though RACC does many good things I think it's time they really looked at how sophisticated their decision making is. Many of the brighter artists simply don't see how their grants can benefit them until they have had regional museum shows (when the artist's focus is often more international). Sophistication isn't an elitist thing here, it also implies a certain reflexivity and work that can hold up to the multifaceted scrutiny that public art project must survive. The truth of it is, Portland is more sophisticated than it used to be and RACC (and the Oregonian who was late and distracted by monks) need to address the game of catch up they are now faced with. Alas, LBJ could not be reached for comment.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 19, 2007 at 10:18 | Comments (2)


I wish the "Freedom Tower" was a joke. All this time and effort into creating a building that is just going to show the weakness of "design by committee."

Posted by: Calvin Ross Carl [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 20, 2007 09:41 AM

Some of the other buildings are allright but the FT is terrible... yet it needs to be the one that elevates the other buildings. We are talking about a historical site and people are trying to create an office building... it's just a mismatch of realities and the only thing that can bring those disparities together is a strong visual design.

Childs is probably not the right architect for such a daunting job. He's just too practical. Realestate markets have their uses but in this case they are choking off the greater gestalts.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 20, 2007 10:07 AM

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