Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Breathtaking Inanity: Memorial Turmoil

I've been terribly negligent here on Polis. Too much to do. But for the few people who read Polis and don't follow the WTC rebuilding effort, turn your attention to this must-read New York mag piece -- a behind the scenes blow-by-blow of how Michael Arad's memorial design got to the point of teetering on the brink of collapse.

It's clear to me from reading the piece that Arad agreed to go on the record because he thought he was going to get a positive review. And he mostly does. But even a cursory read reveals that Arad is one arrogant guy. Even the most sympathetic presentation of his side of the story can't hide that fact. Of course, I totally believe him when he says that he's had to fight off any number of dumb ideas. But this guy is out of his league. Period. He had been tauted as the next Maya Lin, but that just goes to show how incredible and unique Maya Lin is. There is no next Maya Lin. Only she could come up with the breathtaking Vietnam Memorial design as well as have the grace and internal fortitude to see it built. No true for Arad, it would seem.

So, we add arrogance on top of the fact that memorial designers were encouraged NOT to follow the design guidelines laid out by the original Libeskind plan (which wasn't really a plan to begin with), and what you have here my friends is a failure to communicate. Big time.

(Photo: Michael O'Neill)