The Memorial to Ike and Ugly Design

Dwight Eisenhower is getting a memorial in Washington, DC. That’s the good news to those who are fans of Ike.

The memorial is being designed by Frank Gehry. It’s about what you would expect from the king of post-modern design.Eisenhower Memorial

I guess it could be worse, but it’s certainly not a design befitting a figure like Eisenhower. This is an opinion shared by Eisenhower’s family and a growing number of Congressmen. The family issued this statement on May 30:

The scope and scale of the metal scrims, however, remain controversial and divisive. Not only are they the most expensive element of the Gehry design, they are also the most vulnerable to urban conditions, as well as wildlife incursions and ongoing, yet unpredictable, life-cycle costs. This one-of-a-kind experimental technology, which serves as the memorial’s “backdrop,” is impractical and unnecessary for the conceptual narrative. For those reasons, we do not support a design that utilizes them.

Indeed, not only is the design not very attractive, it’s a nightmare from a conservator’s perspective. It’s so bad that the National Civic Art Society has developed a website dedicated to fighting against the design.

As the Daily Caller article mentions, Representatives as diverse as Jim Moran and Darrell Issa are expressing their objections to the design. This is one of those rare times where you might be able to contact your local Congressman and persuade him to take action.

I know that art is a subjective matter, but is it possible to create designs in the 21st century that are actually attractive?

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Dante alighieri


  1. The family’s concerns are well-founded. Another example of extremely expensive
    yet unsound architectural innovation can be found in I.M. Pei’s new wing for the
    National Gallery, also in DC. In Pei’s case, he ignored centuries of stone mason’s
    wisdom and clad his building in marble without allowing for spaces between slabs
    for the marble to ‘breathe’. Seems the gaps would have disturbed the unbroken
    surfaces he wanted for his effect.

    Within a decade or so, moisture buildup behind the slabs caused them to buckle
    and pop off the masonry walls, crashing to the street below. I believe the cost
    of removing all the marble and reinstalling it in such a way that accounts for the
    laws of physics was about as much as the original building.

    I can understand the temptation architects might feel to design something truly
    novel, and I’m sure it looks great on the CV. However, the metal scrims of this
    proposed memorial are an expensive experiment. Ike’s family and the National
    Civic Art Society are right to be apprehensive.

  2. I’d have a statue showing Ike at the Ohrdruf death camp:


    On the statue I would have this quote from a letter that Ike wrote to General Marshal:

    “I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’”
    I would call the statue by the name of Ike’s war memoir: Crusade in Europe

  3. I have a beef with Eisenhower simply because is involved in instituting the doolittle report which stated that any notion of morality has to be taken out of the military if we are to win any wars. Look where we are now ninjas are considered cool and people who hide while shooting is considered a good soldier.

  4. Look where we are now ninjas are considered cool and people who hide while shooting is considered a good soldier.

    Yeah, we always wore bright red and marched out to enemies on the field, no laying low until we saw the whites of their eyes!

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