Gehry’s original proposal was for something so gargantuan it would block some views of the Capitol: There would be a statue of Eisenhower, but as a Kansas boy, and three 80-foot-tall metal “tapestries” depicting episodes from Eisenhower’s boyhood and military and political careers.
Gehry’s monstrosity has been tweaked and now is a tweaked monstrosity.
Gehry is 86, world famous and impatient with philistines who note that his proposal is discordant with the Mall’s aesthetic. But Prometheus need not conform: “There are sorts of rules about architectural expression which have to fit into a certain channel. Screw that.” Perhaps it is the license of genius to talk like a lout: “In this world we are living in, 98 percent of everything that is built and designed today is pure s—.” Gehry has prospered during his ordeal at the hands of people with tastes less refined than his: His firm has pocketed $16 million so far from work on Ike’s nonexistent memorial.
Several panels of “experts” — on what? — have given their imprimatur to Gehry’s undertaking, perhaps in order to resuscitate the hope of getting him to apply his ennobling touch to the nation’s capital. Ten years ago, the Corcoran, Washington’s oldest private art gallery, abandoned plans for Gehry to build a new wing, a proposal also begun in 1999. It too came to naught, even though, for a while, visitors entering the Corcoran walked past what The Post called a “celebratory video” titled “Mr. Gehry Goes to Washington.” Not yet; ideally, never.