Tuesday, October 10, 2006

if you build it, they will come

Guess what middle-america city just opened their pretty new contemporary museum? Well it's not the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis by Gehry or the recently made over Minneapolis Institute of Arts by Michael Graves (note: very similar boxy styling to the DIA's new facade also by Graves). And no it is not the recently completely Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art. It is Denver's new contemporary soaring high into the sky with sharp angles that shadow the rockies in the distance.
Last night I was watching a special called Rome: Engineering an Empire which got me thinking about our city and many other cities across america. Man, those Romans knew what they were doing...so they were greedy and corrupt, what government isn't but they had one thing going for them: they knew the importance of architecture and its cultural and economical benefits. Nowadays, construction workers slap anything up without much concern for design or longevity. Detroit was a beautiful place and even though I didn't experience it in its height, the remains still stand as elegent symbols of detroit's wealthy past...or at least till the bulldozers come to make room for cheap, plastic housing that will blow over in a matter of years.
This brings me to the NYtimes article on new architecture and its effects on cities on the cusp. "As Richard Flood, a former curator at the Walker who moved to NY last year, put it: 'The people who were backing the cultural initiatives of the 50's and 60's are still the best people out there, but they're dying off. These people had very elegant ideas about promoting and supporting culture. They were also the ones who helped create it, which is a very different situation than the ones who simply inherit their vision. Now the goals of these institutions and their boards are very different. It's no longer about the joy of bringing culture to a community. It's about the needs of the institutions to pay off their debts."' Detroit is doing something right: for example the new YMCA downtown and other businesses have moved back downtown. One of the ways to get suburbanites who fear the city to come back is to create beautiful landmarks again. Some people might not exactly love art but they will visit a new museum if they like architecture or even it there is a buzz about a new, pretty building. Ah, yes..."if you build it...will they come?" What did someone say mocad...oh, nevermind.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

art in america had a nice story about a new "green" museum opening in Grand Rapids Mich. nothing about mocad though.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they had to find the money to build a new museum, MOCAD never would have existed.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't this the same theory about pouring out all that money for the Superbowl? I'm still waiting for the resulting tourism wave to crash and flood Detroit with money... I distinctly remember that logic "The superbowl will show Detroit as a place to visit afterwards!" Oh, wait, you have to have something for people to come visit... and, oh, wait most people who went to the Superbowl complained about the weather and said they'd rather have seen the game somewhere like Miami. At least, that's the prevalent opinion in Seattle. But maybe they're just bitter because they lost. Still, haven't heard about a tourism boom.... so "if you host it, they will keep coming afterwards" didn't work. Likewise, "If you built it, they will come" really only works in that baseball movie. Maybe, 'if you build it, continue pouring money into it, adequately advertise it, avoid scalacious scandles, endeavor to resolve crushing social problems.... maybe then they might come, if you also install some type of public transit system, lower the price of gas, offer a cash incentive..." and so on... :-)

1:38 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home