Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Right by Ike

This is a classy memorial to Ike. Naturally, it wasn’t what no-class Gehry had in mind. (It’s in a traffic circle in Bayeux).

We’ve written before about the shambling zombie calamity of a memorial that the talentless po-mo society architect Frank Gehry designed for the Eisenhower Memorial.  Which is how we get to Right by Ike, our Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week. (A bit light on “weapons,” even if Ike wasn’t, commanding arguably the most powerful combined joint force ever to bestride the planet).

The premise of Right by Ike is that any memorial should do right by the 20th Century military and political leader — which the Gehry selection and his deliberately insulting, demeaning design does not.

The selection of Gehry was done by a sham “competition” set up by Gehry pal Rocco Siciliano with the eventual “winner” — Gehry — preselected. The design itself is an eyesore, with steel chain-link-fence-like “tapestries” stretching high into the sky, signifying nothing. Gehry’s design contract has already experienced a 65% overrun, with one of the few things actually constructed to date — mockups of the “tapestries” — came in at 2,300% of budget. Still, Gehry insists that the overall project budget — initially $50 million — is finally stable at $150 million.

Gehry does not have a track record of successfully estimating costs:


A Poor Track Record for the Architect

Project Name Estimated Completion Actual Completion Estimated Cost Actual Cost
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles 1997 2003 $100 Million
(rev. from $50m)
$274 Million

Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, Chicago 2000 2004 $10.8 Million $60 Million

Ray and Maria Stata Center, MIT, Boston January 2004 May 2004 $165 Million $315 Million

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC 2005
orig. 2003
Cancelled for lack of funding $40 Million $200 Million
at cancellation

Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial 2017
orig. 2015
$55-75 Million Currently $150 million

More than that, the buildings he has built have often had leaks, corrosion, and other structural problems. He’s very, very fashionable… he’s just not very good. And here’s what Gehry thinks of the guy he’s supposed to be memorializing, President and General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower:

Kind of like what the thinks of you. 

Then, there are the aesthetics of the memorial. The Eisenhower family was opposed until recently, but has been bought off by some added statues of Ike. Bruce Cole in The New Criterion described the architect’s jarring style as “gehrish,” in a review of a biography of the “starchitect” featuring this insight into Gehry’s love for chain-link:

Gehry… had a complicated psychological relation with chain-link fencing, which he discussed with the long-time Los Angeles celebrity therapist Milton Wexler.

…Wexler didn’t share Gehry’s admiration and deep feelings for chain-link fencing. He, Goldberger says, thought of the material “more in terms of prison yards . . . and he was troubled by Frank’s fondness for it.” Gehry was offended when Wexler told him he “was expressing anger with chain link” and that he needed to do “angry things with this corrugated metal and things to piss people off, to get attention.”

But wait. Why are we raving about a bad architectural design, from a poseur of an architect, in a Website of the Week? Because the Eisenhower Memorial is at a crossroads — rumor is that a few of the weasel Republican Congressmen who dream of circulating in Society are willing to suck up to Gehry to do it. For example, critic Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) has been bought off with a seat on the commission board — cha-chingg! Right By Ike, which wants to do right by Ike (naturally), is a website that consolidates everything you need to know about this fiasco.

Here’s one more graphic from the site: comparing the three most revered Presidential memorials with the Ikesore, what would it cost to build them in current dollars?

An Expensive Proposal

Thumbnail 1 Thumbnail 1
Washington Memorial
Cost: $45.3 million*
Lincoln Memorial
Cost: $48.6 million
Thumbnail 1 Thumbnail 1
Jefferson Memorial
Cost: $42.4 million
Eisenhower Memorial
Currently $150 million

Right by Ike’s Sam Roche points out (at Breitbart) that it’s not too late: there’s a guy in Washington who’s built a few buildings without 2,300% budget overruns before. What’s his name?

If there’s anything helpful to be done, it’ll be noted at Right by Ike.

14 thoughts on “Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Right by Ike

  1. whomever

    ” commanding arguably the most powerful combined joint force ever to bestride the planet”

    I’d love to hear the reasons you don’t think the Red Army merited that title. Lack of strategic air power?

    1. Alan Ward

      Left wing knobs always reward other left wing knobs.
      This is anathema to most arts areas including some of the more clicquey writing awards.
      also Obama’s Nobel prize??

    2. Mike_C

      Emperor’s New Clothes syndrome.

      John Silber, former President of Boston University, among other things, wrote a book called Architecture of the Absurd: How “Genius” Disfigured a Practical Art that addresses this quite well. I have mixed opinions about Silber, but liked the book. What does an academic/administrator/politician have to say about architecture that is worth listening to, one might ask. Silber’s father was an architect of the Beaux-Arts tradition, and young John Silber served as his assistant. Also, as Silber points out, a university president is involved in all sorts of major-building decisions. The following is a excerpt from a review of Silber’s book. [link to review in nick]

      Silber reserves his most caustic criticism for Gehry’s Stata Center for science and research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which he dubs “the pièce de résistance” of absurdity in architecture (it is pictured on the book’s cover)–an “expensive, defective architectural monstrosit[y]” whose final cost was triple the original estimate, and which was completed some four years past the projected date. “Vintage Gehry,” he opines. “Screw cost, screw time”–one can imagine Gehry proclaiming–“I’m an artist, a sculptor, not an architect. Screw the institute staff, whose salaries were frozen because of cost overruns, and the poor stiffs [250 of them] who lost their jobs the following year. What are they to me?”

      Most ordinary mortals who admire architecture, whether they consider it art or not, do so from the outside. Those who work inside iconic buildings day after day tend to narrow their concentration on more mundane things–such as lobby elevators, offices, conference rooms, and cafeterias–which scarcely evoke the qualities that one associates with art. Regarding the Stata’s interior, Gehry wanted, as Silber puts it, “to force the center’s brilliant scientists to interact,” and therefore designed offices without walls, so that colleagues could stop by and chat. The scientists, however, insisted upon some privacy, and now must work in offices with glass walls. Oh, and then there was that pesky problem when winter snows melted or summer rains let loose—the roof leaked! (Not reported by Silber is the cascading snow and ice that has blocked emergency exits in winter.) And there was also a creepy mold that invaded brick portions of the building’s exterior. So MIT did what you might do. It sued Gehry.

      Silber rightly lays ultimate blame for the flourishing of the architecture of the absurd on the “inexperience and . . . gullibility” of clients. As he pleads, they “should not forfeit their dignity as persons and allow themselves, through vanity . . . or timidity, to be seduced.”

      As it happens, I walked past the Stata Center two days ago to meet a friend in Kendall Square. Still ugly and goofy looking (Stata Center, not the friend). Also, the Stata Center replaced the beloved WW2 vintage “Building 20” (all MIT buildings are numbered, and the Departments are called “Course [number]” because Engineering!, or some $#!t; e.g. EECS is “Course 6” in MITspeak). Building 20 was frankly a bit of a dump, but no one cared what you did (e.g. you could punch holes in the wall of your office if you had “good reason” because it was after all, a temporary building, albeit one that had stood for over 50 years), and a lot of good work came out of there. And no, I didn’t work in Building 20, my office was next door in Building 36.

    3. Hognose Post author

      He’s fashionable. If you’re not confident in your wealth, perhaps you are ashamed of inheriting it, you can impress all the right people by hiring Frank Gehry to make you a house. Who will accept little input from the home owners, but prefers to surprise them — I am not making that up.

  2. medic09

    If Ike had worked the same way the Gehry does, the Normandy invasion would never have been implemented. (Nor the interstate highway system, for that matter.) Ike took the most complicated (by nature) possible military operation, and made it happen – logistics, operations, politics, the whole bit. How insulting that his monument is entrusted to a guy like Gehry.

  3. Badger

    Should have a seriously hardened in granite quotation of his warning about the military-industrial complex. (Nope; not holding breath.)

  4. Aesop

    The best way to handle Gehry in this instance would be for his patrons to award him the Jimmy Hoffa Chair of Architecture, by pouring him bodily into the foundation of the Ike Memorial.

    For love of good architecture.

  5. archy

    ***. Bruce Cole in The New Criterion described the architect’s jarring style as “gehrish,” in a review of a biography of the “starchitect” featuring this insight into Gehry’s love for chain-link:

    Gehry… had a complicated psychological relation with chain-link fencing, which he discussed with the long-time Los Angeles celebrity therapist Milton Wexler.

    …Wexler didn’t share Gehry’s admiration and deep feelings for chain-link fencing. He, Goldberger says, thought of the material “more in terms of prison yards . . . and he was troubled by Frank’s fondness for it.” Gehry was offended when Wexler told him he “was expressing anger with chain link” and that he needed to do “angry things with this corrugated metal and things to piss people off, to get attention.”***

    Another question about Ike and chain-link fencing in the historical context of WWII comes to mind as well: Did the stuff even exist circa 1941-’45? It may have been in use at supersecret facilities of the Manhattan Project and the like, but the security fencing at the Evansville, IN LST plant and other war industries was interwoven barbed wire fixed to both sides of the supporting poles with vertical runs of more wire connecting them. I can’t really recall any WWII photographs of chain link in use, but when has that ever stopped revisionist historian/archetects with an agenda as big as their mental problems.

    https://i1.wp.com/www.donnaamisdavis.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/dscn0021.jpg

    1. Haxo Angmark

      nuke the entire site from orbit. Along with the rest of DC and its monuments to a nation that no longer exists. Do it when Congress is in full session, and all the lawyers, lobbyists, and apparatchiks in and out of uniform, are in full attendance.

  6. Kansas Gunner

    Funny that this is your website of the week, as work took me up to Abilene today, where a fitting and beautiful memorial to Ike stands. I frankly don’t see why we need much more than a simple statue of the man.

    Re: Chain link fence, the great wiki gives a first patent date of 1841 in the UK and the first US manufacturer starting up in 1891.

  7. Dienekes

    Deep in alligators at the moment, but it seems as if we in the West flaunt the ugly and the banal every chance we get. Doubtless the Greeks knew how to create beautiful things and did; but we seem to wallow in the hideous. Some seriously crossed wires here.

    JMB sired the BHP; Gaston Glock gave us the–well…

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