LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME

PHOTO – YASMINA DEDIJER-SMALL

I AM A STORY TELLER, STATE THE FACTS EMBELLISHED BY PERSONAL DATA THAT MAKES THE MUNDANE INTERESTING.

THAT IS THE WAY I WRITE, AND I AM NOT UP FOR DELETING PEOPLE NOR COMMENTS ABOUT ARCHITECTS. THE LAST BLOG, ” UP UP AND AWAY WITH DAVID HERTZ” WAS WRITTEN IN A RATIONAL MANNER TO CRIT A PROJECT I DID NOT LIKE, WITH HUMAN OBSERVATION AND EVENTS THROWN IN TO CREATE DIMENSION.

THE RESULT OF THE COMMENTS WERE LOPSIDED IN FAVOR OF THE PROJECT AND DAVID.

THE ARGUMENTS OF CRITICAL INFORMATION WERE MOSTLY IGNORED: FROM THE INAPPROPRIATE SITE, IMPRACTICAL BUILDING OF AN EXPENSIVE CUSTOM RESIDENCE TO RECEIVE THE RIDICULOUS CUT UP WINGS, REQUIRING TRUCK AND HELICOPTER RIDES TO BE LAID FLAT, ALL PROCLAIMED THROUGH PUBLIC MEDIA TO BE GREEN, COST EFFECTIVE , AND SENSATIONAL LOOKING. SECONDED BY MY VOCAL COMMENT READERS. BEFORE I DID THIS BLOG I GOT ENCOURAGEMENT BY OTHER PROFESSIONALS OPPOSED TO THE GIMMICK 747 FARCE.

THE BOTTOM LINE RESULTED IN NOT CONVINCING THE VOCAL COMMENT AUDIENCE OF MY BLOG ABOUT MY CONCERNS. THE PEOPLE COMMENTING TO DATE, ALL STUDENTS OF MINE AT SCI-ARC, EXCEPT FOR A PERSONAL FRIEND THAT HAD ISSUES WITH ME AND CHRIS WHO POINTED TO ME AS POSITIVE BY REVEALING THE TRUTH. EXCEPT FOR CHRIS, TO THEM HERTZ’ PROJECT REPRESENTED SUCCESS. WE DIFFER BIG TIME. SO BE IT. I SEE A BIGGER PICTURE THAT IS NOT THEIR WORLD.

THE COMBINATION OF PERSONAL VALUES AND TRAITS INFLUENCE THE DECISIONS ARCHITECTS MAKE AND THE WORK THEY PERFORM.

I WAS INSISTENT THAT MY DAUGHTER LUCIA, IN THE FILM “MY FATHER THE GENIUS ” PUT THE LECTURE PANEL OF 1976 IN THE MOVIE, BECAUSE I NAIVELY THOUGHT VIEWERS WOULD RELATE TO MY GREEN CAUSE AND REALIZE THE PANEL OF DISTINGUISHED ARCHITECTS COULDN’T CARE LESS ABOUT BEING GREEN NOR DEALING WITH SOCIAL ISSUES. ALTHOUGH THE LARGE AUDIENCE AT SCI-ARC WAS TUMULTUOUS CLAPPING WITH AGREEMENT ABOUT MY COMMENTS, THE FILM AUDIENCE AND PRESS MEDIA THOUGHT I WAS PICKING ON THE PANEL.

ALL THE ISSUES I PROMOTED ARE NOW STANDARD CONCERNS OF THE BUILDING INDUSTRY. WHO WAS 40 YEARS TOO LATE? AND YET THE MOVIE LIVES FOREVER AND THE VIEWERS STILL DO NOT RESONATE WITH MY MESSAGE. THEY RELATE TO THE ESTABLISHMENT PANEL EMBARRASSMENT. NO HARM NO FOUL.

THE BOTTOM LINE BEING THAT THE PANEL BEING EXPOSED, BOOMERANGED ON ME AND MOST VIEWERS IGNORED MY CONCERNS AND TRASHED ME. RELATING TO SOCIAL STANDARDS VS THE MESSAGE DELIVERED.

WHAT THIS IS ALL LEADING TO IS BEING AN ARCHITECTURAL CRITC WHO IS BLATANTLY HONEST AND DIRECT WILL RECEIVE A LOT OF NEGATIVE FEED BACK. IT IS HARD ENOUGH JUST STICKING TO MY ARCHITECTURAL PROPOSALS, THE RECENT TROPISPHERE GETTING FLAK ABOUT THE DRAWINGS WITH AN UNDERCURRENT OF RESISTANCE FOR THE BIG IDEA. THAT IS OK AND IS EXPECTED. THE PRICE OF BEING TRANSPARENT AND ON THE CUTTING EDGE, GOES WITH THE TERRITORY.

AS WE ALL HAVE EXPERIENCED, SITTING AROUND HAVING A FEW BEERS WITH A GROUP OF ARCHITECTS AND LETTINGS TONGUES BLABBER. OPINIONS VARY, HEATED CONFLICTS HAPPEN, SHOUTING MIGHT OCCUR, STOMPING OFF RESULTS. SMOOTHED OVER BY CHAMPAGNE LUNCHES TO SORT IT OUT . THAT IS LIFE. A HUGE INABILITY IN THE PROFESSION TO HAVE DEBATES. LOOK AT POLITICIANS DEBATING, THEY LET IT ALL HANG OUT AND ARE THE ROLE MODELS OF OUR SOCIETY. TALK ABOUT PERSONAL INSULTS.

THE LINE BETWEEN PERSONAL LIFE AND WORK PERFORMED GETS CLOUDED AND COMPLICATED. TO ME THE MIX IS INTERESTING, LIKE BRENDAN GILL’S BOOK “MANY MASKS” ON FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT. ALL THE PERSONAL LIFE DRAMA DOES NOT TAKE AWAY FROM HIS ARCHITECTURE, BUT INSTEAD REVEALS HOW HE COPED. AN ASTOUNDING COMPLETE GIFTED GENIUS ARCHITECT. HIS PERSONAL LIFE WAS PART OF THE MIX AND HE EXCELLED AT BEING DIFFERENT AND ABOVE IT ALL. IN FACT HIS ZEST FOR LIFE AND ADVENTURE IS REFLECTED IN HIS ARCHITECTURE.

I USE THE WORD HUSTLER A LOT. PEOPLE TAKE THAT AS NEGATIVE, THE AGGRESSIVE PUSHY CHARMING ARCHITECT GETS THE JOB A LOT OF THE TIME.
RAY KAPPE TALKS ABOUT THE OLD DAYS WHERE CLIENTS AND PUBLICITY CAME TO THE ARCHITECT. NOW IT IS THE REVERSE. THE ARCHITECT FINDS THE CLIENTS AND PUSHES THE PUBLICITY, BY HIRING A PUBLICIST. MAKING A TARGET LIST OF PEOPLE TO GET TO KNOW ETC.

THE BIG TIME HUSTLERS ADVANCE. IT IS AN ART ALL IN ITSELF. BUT THAT DOES NOT EQUATE TO PROJECTS TO BETTER THE PLANET AND THE BEST ARCHITECTS GETTING THE JOBS, QUITE OFTEN THE REVERSE. SO YOU HAVE TO ASK, WHO ARE THE MOVERS AND SHAKERS? WHAT ARE THEIR PERSONAL TRAITS? WHAT IN THEIR LIVES MAKES THEM WANT TO PRODUCE WHAT THEY DO?

MY FAVORITE CONTEMPORARY SUCCESS IS FRANK GEHRY. WHEN I STATED IN 1976 0N THE FUTURE OF ARCHITECTURE PANEL THAT ” FRANK WAS A HUSTLER, MAN ABOUT TOWN, ALWAYS WITH A GIMMICK. AND SAID AT DINNER TONIGHT HE DID NOT CARE ABOUT THE FUTURE”. FRANK WAS FURIOUS. A FORCED PERSPECTIVE HOUSE FOR A PAINTER FRIEND RON DAVIS WAS HIS MOST RADICAL VENTURE AT THE TIME, HE WAS DANCING BETWEEN BEING A CORPORATE ARCHITECT AND PROVOCATIVE ARTISTIC ARCHITECT. FRANK HAD NOT STARTED HIS PERSONAL RESIDENCE OF A REMODEL OF A TRADITIONAL HOUSE WRAPPED WITH CHAIN LINK FENCING , PIERCING JAGGED CORRUGATED METAL AND WIRE GLASS AND AN ASPHALT FLOOR .

THE WORD HUSTLER WAS USED TO SHOW THE WAY HE WINED AND DINED TO GET JOBS, AND THE WORD GIMMICK TO SHOW MY SCORN FOR HIS ARTY TWIST TO JUSTIFY CRUD SHAPES TO GET ATTENTION. BOTH HUSTLER AND GIMMICKS A HUGE PART OF HIS SOUL WHICH I FIND OFFENSIVE. CALL THAT SMART, PERSONAL, ARTY OR EXCELLENT ARCHITECTURE, BUT DO NOT GET ON MY BACK FOR CALLING IT LIKE I SEE IT.

TO MAKE MY COMMENTS TAKES CONVICTION. THIS IS THROWN BACK AT ME AS BEING AN EGOTIST. THE WORD MEANING SELF ABSORBED WITHOUT CONCERN FOR OTHERS. YES I EXPRESS MY OPINIONS, BUT I FIND THEM REPRESENTING THE GOOD OF HUMANITY. MY AIM IS TO NUTURE AND MAKE POSITIVE PROPOSAL TO BETTER HUMANITY.

EGO AND HUMILITY ARE SO CONFUSED. GIVE ME ANYONE THAT DOES MAJOR THINGS AND I WILL SHOW YOU A BIG EGO, SUPPRESSED, BURIED TO THE PUBLIC, BUT A HUGE MOTIVATOR TO GET THINGS DONE. EVERYONE HAS EGO, THEY JUST SHOW IT DIFFERENTLY.

THOSE THAT ARE CLOSE, KNOW I AM A FRIENDLY HELPFUL GUY . HUMILITY ABOUT MY ARCHITECTURAL SKILLS IS NOT MY THING. I DO NOT WANT IT ANY OTHER WAY, SOME SAY THAT IS TERRIBLE, OTHERS SAY THAT IS HONEST. BUT I AM DOING IT MY WAY AND I AM PROUD OF THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS. LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME.

ALL SO LAUGHABLE, LOOSEN UP, LIFE IS TOO SERIOUS AND THEN WE ARE GONE. THE LATE CHARLES MOORE, ON THE 1976 PANEL SAID, “THE CHAMPAGNE IS GREAT”, REFERRING TO IGNORING MY GREEN AND SOCIAL CONCERNS AND PRACTICING POST MODERN NEOCLASSICAL ARCHITECTURE.

GLEN

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16 comments

  1. Good morning Glen.

    So you dont like negative feedback. Hello Pavlov. Even a dog will stop eating if stung too many times. Rise above it.

    When people tell me ‘I like what you wrote”, or “oh, I just love your writing” , well it just makes me cringe. My first response is a thank you and next (most important) why do you like it? For me “why?” is the key. Feedback. My mirror looking back using some other’s eyes.

    Dont get me wrong. I crave compliments, more than most.. Flattery makes me blush. Especially in the morning when I have a big smile. But the so-negative feedback, for me, is what it is about. It helps me refine my vision, fill the gaps in logic, change a perspective, see behind walls. Upon reflection I figure out if the comments make sense, or not. Feedback helps me understand me, my work, better. A slap to the face is the best way to wake someone up, real quick.

    Criticism, done right, should be seen as a gift. A gift to you, a gift to David Hertz..

    Now i got a slogan: Criticism, the gift that keeps on giving.

    Coffee’s ready. Goodbye. eric

    • ERIC,

      SLAPPING SETS ME OFF. YES IT MAKES ME THINK, THICKEN THE HIDE, BUT UPON REFLECTION, LIKE IN THIS CASE REALIZE, IT IS THE CHOSEN PATH I RESPECT, AND OTHERS THAT DISAGREE HAVE A DIFFERENT TAKE. SO BE IT.

      GLEN

    • Eric,
      I too must say that you are very knowledgable and a great writer indeed. I would have expected you to have published a bestselling book, with your writing talent.

      Glen,
      It appears that you love to criticise others and consider it your right and duty, but hate anyone criticising you in return. ( Internet Karma )
      Just another friendly pup surrounding you and yapping again:)
      Mitm

  2. Glen,
    I have in the workings, upcoming, a long piece on the variants and variations of criticism. That is, how does one understand, interpret and evaluate a work of art. It is not as simple as a I like it or I don’t like it. And similarly, criticism is not as simple as good or bad, truth or falseness, right or wrong. Try reading Stalinist era art criticism for a taste of criticism as write or wrong.

    I tend to emphasize the interpretative part, as that is what I am good at. It also gives me a chance to express my creativity. I see my method as an analysis of form. The ‘big picture’ social critics, well, repeat the same criticism ad nausea for everything. Not my approach.

    The specificity of the work is what makes it interesting. Every picture DOES tell a story. The Hertz’ airplane house – bad, false, wrong – still carries interest despite it’s failures that you pointed out.

    Later

    eric

    • ERIC,

      INTEREST, A BROAD STATEMENT. WHENEVER I ASK A PERSON ABOUT MY ARCHITECTURE, AND THEY SAY MY WORK IS INTERESTING, I KNOW I AM IN TROUBLE. WHEN I SEE SOMEBODY FLIP THROUGH MY VISUAL PACKET I KNOW THEY ARE NOT CONNECTING.

      SO INTEREST IS A TERM THAT IS A CATCH ALL. DAVID’S PROJECT IS AN EPIC FILM. IT HAS TONS OF INTEREST. NOT MY CONCERN . SO YOU, AS THE ACCEPT ALL AND LEARN FROM IT I AGREE WITH, BUT NOT FROM THE STANDPOINT OF RELEVANT. WOULD YOU WANT ME ANY DIFFERENT?

      GLEN

  3. Glen et al,

    Interesting is a poor word choice. But I can find interest in anything and everything, even things that are a bore. Because my method of investigation is analytic and my means of expression uses poetic and rhetoric as my devices of choice.

    There is also other “type” of critical writing; parody, satire, irony, sardonic (black humor) and my favorite, sarcasm. You dont use these often. YYou are more of a realist in your crits. Yours is more of a straight ethics based reply to the work

    I remember you not liking STAR WARS because a planet was blown up. Ethics , not form, was your point of departure. You take the story seriously and ask realistic questions.

    David Hertz’s folly doesn’t pass the reality check when you question the motivation, and end result. Once you get past the initial WHY? what remains is just another object in the landscape, the small picture it seems.

    gotta go again.

  4. Who won. Who cares. Art loses.

    This was a one-sided match with Eric Moss clearly the argumentative aggressor and Coy Howard the defensive artist. Art gestures, however theatrical, were not enough to withstand the onslaught of Moss’s basic in-your-face questioning. Undefeated, the champion Moss again reused his same true but tired tactics of exposing lapses in his opponent’s logic, following a train of thought to a logical inconsistency, and uncovering contradictions. Moss’s strategy of echoing the words of his opponent is an easy set up for his knockout ‘I want a single answer to my question’ punch. However banal, stupid or pointless Moss’s syllogisms were they undressed Coy Howards art pretensions by attacking his notions of subtlety, ambiguity and nuance with observations such as “you have no backup”. It is as if art needs justification other than itself to be art.

    Glen,
    Sometimes criticism is a matter of style; how you say it – not just saying it.

    Below is a short impression of Eric Moss debating Coy Howard at SCI-Arc’s gallery. It really doesn’t matter what the exhibit was about. The ‘review’ is part parody, all sarcasm. The style of presentation is what gets the point across.

    This segment was part of a month long back and forth on Coy Howard including reviews of his work and exhibits

    **********************
    Who won, Who cares, Art loses

    Nevertheless, Moss, despite his total lack of knowledge of contemporar
    y art, was sure minded enough to know what art is or what art should be. Moss even reached as far back as the “Mona Lisa” to make a point about observing self-reflections on glass, apparently believing he discovered these phenomena and sure that Howard was unaware of how art in a gallery is presented. Against this bullying the artist has no chance. It reminds me of Goebbels dictum. I paraphrase; “When I hear the word art I just want to grab a machine gun”.

    Eric Chavkin

    • ERIC,

      YOU HAVE A WIDE INTEREST OF WHAT CONSTITUTES GOOD ARCHITECTURE, INCLUDING YOUR ART TAKE.

      I HAVE RESTRICTED MY CONCERNS OF WHAT MEANINGFUL ARCHITECTURE CONSTITUTES. WHEN IN DAVID’S CASE HE CLAIMS TO BE GREEN , ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS, FINANCIALLY CORRECT AND AESTHETICALLY SENSIBLE. ALL ISSUES THAT I FEEL ARE MY CONCERNS IN ARCHITECTURE, IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY TO SPEAK UP. I DID. WE DISAGREE WITHOUT YOU ADDRESSING ANY OF MY CONCERNS. ENOUGH HAS BEEN SAID, INCLUDING HOW I SAID IT. READ MY EXPLANATIONS. WE DISAGREE AND WILL CONTINUE TO DISAGREE. BUT I THINK WE ARE BIG ENOUGH TO ALLOW OTHERS THEIR POINT OF VIEW, ARE WE NOT?

      GLEN

  5. Actually who is disagreeing with whom? Our methods are different. As I pointed out, your approach to criticism is, for the most part, ethical. Nothing wrong or obtuse about that. Think Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs, Ada Louise Huxtable – all good writers and even better critics. They argue from a social perspective, their enemy it seems is bad planning, bad design, bad judgement. They are not frustrated designers, For the most part their aesthetics is corrective and reasonable. Good design.

    Lets talk about aesthetics. Because you design your insight and criticisms on aesthetics make sense. You have an eye. And a flaw is a flaw when spotted. Myself, I appreciate the aesthetic insight more than the ethics. I know my where I stand.

    Enough

    BTW my Moss review IS an example of being mean, wrapped in a clever package. The entire interview, comments and thread is here on Archinect. My plug

    http://archinect.com/features/article/101781/coy-howard-interview

    eric

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