Plying from Nought to Nought
2 | Uploaded on 13 July 2012 | 10 months ago
« The metaphorical possibilities are varied — too much so. The play of imagination that the memorial provokes is piously generic : something to do with death. [...] The mollifying solemnity of pseudo-universal abstractions puts a great gray sentiment in the place of actual memory. »
Richard Brody tries his hand at architectural criticism ! Without commenting on the merits of the piece, I would like to register my disappointment that the New Yorker, after letting Goldberg go, is farming out its architecture criticism to film critics — not that they don’t have interesting and worthwhile perspectives or that non-specialist opinions don’t count ! — but nowhere does Brody, righteously bothered by the nonspecificity and abstractness of the Berlin memorial, attempt to locate it in the context of contemporary memorial design, or within the work of Peter Eisenman, or even in relation to the other memorials within Berlin. Or, for that matter, explain how the process of developing, designing, and building the memorial led to the final object (a lot of his questions would have been answered). Of course these are things that any decent architecture critic would have done, and it’s too bad that the New Yorker is settling for a (very good) film critic carping about the architecture he saw on vacation in Europe. It’s like when Martin Filler writes about Meryl Streep in the New York Review of Books : cool in the sense that one feels like a guest at one of Filler’s dinner parties, listening to him spout off a dissenting opinion on everyone’s favorite actress, but strange because non-expert opinions feel to me that much more intimate and unguarded. Maybe that’s sometimes a good thing. But there are maybe less than ten major architecture critics left in the US, and it would be nice if we’d let them do their jobs.