Architecture

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?

An Exhibition for the Rebuilding of L’Aquila

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Here is a snippet: The age of these works of art, isn’t the reason they’re deteriorated. Even though they go back a couple centuries, until a year ago, they were still intact. But on April 6th 2009, the ground shook in the Italian city of L’Aquila.

This exhibition doesn’t aim to show the artistic value of the paintings or sculptures rather it’s a metaphor for the damaging consequences of the earthquake.

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Video courtesy of Rome Reports.

Happy Birthday Novus Ordo?

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Among my many flaws is a deep appreciation for biting sarcasm.  A recent post by Damian Thompson at his blog at the  Telegraph is a masterpiece of this form of verbal combat:

“It is 40 years ago today since the New Mass of Paul VI was introduced into our parishes, writes Margery Popinstar, editor of The Capsule. We knew at the time that this liturgy was as close to perfection as humanly possible, but little did we guess what an efflorescence of art, architecture, music and worship lay ahead!

There were fears at first that the vernacular service would damage the solemnity of the Mass. How silly! Far from leading to liturgical abuses, the New Mass nurtured a koinonia that revived Catholic culture and packed our reordered churches to the rafters.

So dramatic was the growth in family Mass observance, indeed, that a new school of Catholic architecture arose to provide places of worship for these new congregations. Throughout the Western world, churches sprang up that combined Christian heritage with the thrilling simplicity of the modern school, creating a sense of the numinous that has proved as irresistible to secular visitors as to the faithful.

For some worshippers, it is the sheer visual beauty of the New Mass that captures the heart, with its simple yet scrupulously observed rubrics – to say nothing of the elegance of the priest’s vestments, which (though commendably less fussy than pre-conciliar outfits) exhibit a standard of meticulous craftsmanship which truly gives glory to God!

The same refreshing of tradition infuses the wonderful – and toe-tapping! – modern Mass settings and hymns produced for the revised liturgy. This music, written by the most gifted composers of our era, has won over congregations so totally that it is now rare to encounter a parish where everyone is not singing their heads off! Even the secular “hit parade” has borrowed from Catholic worship songs, so deliciously memorable – yet reverent! – is the effect they create. No wonder it is standing room only at most Masses!”

Did Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, who birthed this kairos, have any idea just how radically his innovations would transform the Church? We must, of course, all rejoice in his imminent beatification – but, in the meantime, I am tempted to borrow a phrase from a forgotten language that – can you believe it? – was used by the Church for services before 1969: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

L.A. Cathedral Safe From Wildfires

Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral seems to be safe for now from the raging wildfires in Santa Barbara north of Los Angeles and from Orange County which is south of Los Angeles, both approximately 30 miles away.  Sadly two LA Cathedral tabernaclefirefighters have lost their lives in service to Angelinos.

Maps of the wildfires are temporarily out of service as servers have been overloaded for the Los Angeles Times, Google Maps, and Associated Content.

From the pictures it looks like all hell has broken loose.  Smoke continues to envelope major sections of Los Angeles and the fluorescent red light from said wildfires give an eery glow to the landscape.

The beautiful architecture of Our Lady of Angels is at risk of destruction from these wildfires.  The Cathedral’s exterior echoes the Famsa Warehouse District with its soaring brownish brick buildings and rectangular gray-stained windows.  The Plaze of the Cathedral resembles that of your local community college with directionless paths and no shading.

The treasure trove of art that this Cathedral holds is breath-taking.  Where else can you find non-Christian imagery than that on the giant bronze doors depicting images from pre-Christian Europe.  These giant bronze doors are conveniently located away from the LA Cathedral dragon massnarthex.  Neo-post-Christian artists such as Robert Graham decorated the door with an unveiled Mary showing her bare arms welcoming people to come in for happy-clappy Masses and liturgical dances.

Once your inside and find your way to the “church” you can marvel at the hand-crafted tabernacle sculptured by Max DeMoss.  Mr. DeMoss designed the tabernacle to blend with the the rest of the architectural style of the cathedral which is delightfully tacky, yet unrefined.

As you turn around from those three deteriorating pipes sticking out of the ground called the tabernacle you can view LA Cathedral jugs of juicethe complete interior of the Cathedral of the Angels.  Imagine one of those special liturgical celebrations as a Chinese dragon parades up and down the kneelerless rows with Cardinal Mahony waiting in the wings with pitchers of Jesus waiting to be distributed among the faithful.

What priceless treasures that this Cathedral holds that may well be burned to the ground along with the post-neo-Christian architecture.

One can only pray.

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All information for this posting was done entirely from the Our Lady of Angels Cathedral website.

Pictures courtesy of Quintero from L.A. Catholic.

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