Sunday, September 7, 2008

Who's running the asylum?

Avoid modern art. But when modern art finds you, call Buffalo Bloviator.
Please click for Howard's (aka Buffalo Bloviator) archived modern art story.

I would like to thank The Wife for allowing me this opportunity to bloviate on her blog. She has kindly deigned to let me expand on and amplify what she has just written.

The new Burchfield-Penney Art Center construction, located on the grounds of the old Buffalo State Asylum For The Insane, has been successfully completed and many hard working well intentioned people obviously deserve credit for completing the project on time and doing a great job.

As The Wife just kvetched, it reportedly drew several tens of millions of dollars out of the $100 million dollar fund that was originally intended for the H.H.Richardson preservation and restoration. And it displaced mature surviving Olmstead designed park land that is important to the H.H. Richardson complex.

The Wife wrote of it blocking our view of the H.H. Richardson complex. True too. But another thing that disturbs me about this project is that it is part of the movement to displace classic art with modern art. I like modern art and I believe that many pieces are the result of great genius. The rest are frauds and pawns in a giant perverse chess game to tear down and/or displace our cultural history.

Is it too much to ask to see a balance of art rather than a wholesale displacement? Did you ever notice how art has become "installations" that are huge and displace more and more space? Now all the classic art at the Albright-Knox is either stored in the basement or has been sold at auction. Some of the pieces sold set price records and were lauded as the best examples ever seen -yet they weren't good enough for Buffalonians to view them.

Forbid it, Almighty God!

Lastly, and this is strictly my own personal taste, I am very hard to please when it comes to modern architecture. It most often does not stand the test of time and becomes a mocking temple to those who signed off on it. Why is it that architects have become like hair stylists that can't resist doing shocking wild experiments with other people's haircuts? They are real brave when it's your head and not theirs.

Being a positive person by nature I will do my best to appreciate the new building design and acquire a taste for it. Since it is a done deal, I truly would like to see the building enjoyed and used successfully for good purposes. Maybe then it won't look like a big round windowless wall and remind me of the giant tanks at the treatment plant. At least those treatment plants perform a utilitarian task that I greatly appreciate.

I guess I just have trouble coming to terms with the giant $30,000,000 asset being constructed with my tax dollars to promote a cultural movement that I don't particularly subscribe to.

Posted by Howard Goldman

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