WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN?

IN THE YEAR 2005, MANAGUA NICARAGUA GOT A GEM , THE CONCHA ACUSTICA, IT GOT RAVE REVIEWS. THE OPENING NIGHT AUDIENCE OF 150,000, LISTENED TO WORLD CLASS LATIN MUSICIANS PERFORM. NICARAGUA HAD A SYMBOLIC IMAGE OF AN UPLIFTING MONUMENT FOR HAPPINESS. SEE BLOGS: NICARAGUA 5 & 6. ON GOOGLE, IT WAS A FAVORITE SENSUOUS OBJECT TO PHOTOGRAPH IN MANAGUA.

FLASH FOWARD TO 2013 MANAGUA NICARAGUA, ROSARIO MURILLO WAVES HER WAND OF POWER AND TURNS THE CONCHA ACUSTICA INTO A POLITICAL STATEMENT WITH A FORTY FOOT CUT OUT STATUE OF SANDINO ON STAGE, AN INDIAN FOLKLORE MEDALLION BLOWN UP TO BILL BOARD SIZE ON STEEL. TOPPED OFF WITH A HUGE SIGN. EVERYTHING LIT UP LIKE A CRASS AMUSEMENT PARK AT NIGHT. THE NOW TRADEMARK ROSARIO STEEL TREES OF LIFE SPOUTING UP EVERYWHERE. TALK ABOUT HYPOCRISY, SANDINO WAS A MAN OF THE PEOPLE, NOT A CARTOON CHARACTER, THE NATIVES INDIGENOUS TO NATURE, NOT SOME CORNY STEEL PROPELLER , AND TREES GIVE VITALITY TO THE WORLD, BUT DO NOT GROW WHEN STEEL.

A PROSAIC FENCE ON THE STAGE AND STRINGS OF HUGE CHRISTMAS TREE LITES DRAPED OVER THE SKIN LIKE A PLASTIC FUNGUS. THE ORIGINAL LIGHTNING TOTALLY ABOUNDED.

THE CONCEPT PURPOSE OF PERFORMING FREE LIVE CONCERTS FOR THE POPULOUS IN THE CONCHA ACUSTICA , NOW A DESTROYED FACT. OH WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN? THE ONCE PURE MONUMENT , NOW A TATTERED ABUSED SHELL. THIS WAS NOT A NAIVE ACT, BUT A CALCULATED POLITICAL MAKEOVER.

2005 GLEN HOWARD SMALL ROGER LEWITES ARCHITECTS

2013 GOVERNMENT ADD ONS BLOCKING VIEW LINES

2005 GLEN HOWARD SMALL ROGER LEWITES ARCHITECTS

2013 GOVERNMENT ADDITIONS AND STEEL TREES

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  • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

    Glen,

    Unforgivably sad.

    Totalitarianism in full bloom.

    Your shell the ultimate democratic structure. Anyone can mount the stage to perform, speak, dance.
    The shell is neutral; a public place for any and all. The shell doesn’t vote or fight. The shell judges not.
    The shell welcomes the pageant of civic life and never wearies.

    When one person takes control of a public place for their single-minded expression of power, it’s called totalitarianism.

    The shell is a stage for presidents and poets, comedy and drama, rock and roll and Beethoven. Its present state indicates a willful censure of the full spectrum of civic gatherings and artful performances that are indicative of a free and democratic society.

    Sandino lies puzzled in his grave. The power to reclaim full measure of your gift of this wonderful public place, is with the public.

    The disrespect, the insult to the artist is overwhelming. I can feel it here, and imagine how intense it must be on site.

    David

    David Teachout
    [email protected]

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      DAVID,

      THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENTS.

      YES, ALL THE PROJECTS I DID IN NICARAGUA WERE FOR A WIDE VARIETY OF THE PUBLIC TO USE. THE STRUCTURES NEUTRAL TO INSPIRE AND BRING JOY TO THE POPULUS. THE STAGE FOR ALL TO HAPPEN.

      HOW SAD TO BE MUNIPULATED FOR A LIMITED INTEREST.

      GLEN

  • eric chavkin

    The aesthetic issue here ‘is how can art serve the people’. And the revolution is the people. Hence images of a revolutionaries , therefore the art, serves the people.

    A dim-witted syllogism. One that was discarded over fifty years ago. This was Stalin and Hilter’s response to ‘the aesthetic problem.

    Abstract art, subjective expression, or any self expression, is considered decadent. Realist art, either symbolic like those ‘trees of life’ or cartoon Sandanistas’ and also representational art are considered good, the expression of the proletariat or working class now in ascendancy. Modernism is bad because it represents the exploiters , America and Europe. Folk or indigenous art ARE the people. Idealism is elitist and decadent and has no place in the revoltion. So that argument goes.

    It is a bad argument. One that requires a rigid political system where everyone agrees. Art, and architecture, are just other functioning parts. Craft-work would be more appreciated. Next time weave a basket.

    That is why Nicaragua is still a third-rate country. It sees only the past. as a model. It has no future.

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      ERIC,

      YOUR POINTS WELL MADE.

      I AM A BELIEVER OF UNIVERSAL BEAUTY. FROM THE COMMENTS I HAVE RECEIVED FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE HERE IN NICARAGUA, THE ACOUSTICAL SHELL WAS PRECEIVED AS BEAUTIFUL AND SPEACIAL.

      THAT IS WHY THE GOVERNMENT ALTERATION IS ALL ABOUT POLITICS, NOT BEAUTY.

      GLEN

  • Armando Ramirez

    Hi Glen;

    Spare my way to answer your question with another question. But tell me; when do the dictators ever learn? They just know about totalitarianism and imposing their own laws. they don’t care about art, progress or even their own people, the people that put them in the government house. They just care about themselves.
    Poor my country Nicaragua in the hands of fake revolutionary leaders than rather are opportunists in the disguise of the democracy, they are finishing with Nicaragua. When o Lord Nicaragua will be a republic again?
    These are the things that make me think about going back to my beloved homeland.
    PS: Your concha acustica likewise the fountain was magnificent.

  • http://none David Mesa Architect

    Glen Small wants to save the world with architecture – one building at a time. He is a good wasp craftsman, he insists on sticking to his craft. I have warned him many times that the Naziz stormtroppers soon could move in and he could not about to stop them or let them get away with it. Be careful you know the woman is the wife of the president!!!!!!

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      mesa,

      thanks for your advice. as i have explained, i am a bit player. an architect that resents his work torn down or altered. the same thing can happen in the states, and does. Phil Donahue bought and destroyed one of the best houses i have seen. john Johansen exposed concrete curved walled house. i put it in the blog ” john Johansen bits the dust.” Frank Lloyd Wright’s ” Larkin building” was demolished for a parking lot. the bavenger house by bruce goff was torn down recently. his best house.

      you would think by now the world has evolved about architecture that is priceless needs to be maintained and respected. when will they ever learn?

      it happens to all architects, but this is personal to me. that is why i am yelling.

      glen

  • http://www.baranstudio.com Matt Baran

    I like it. Maybe you should look at it more the way Duchamp did when they dropped “Large Glass”

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      matt,

      please expond on your, ” i like it. ”

      are you still driving your motorcycle at top speed?

      glen

      • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

        matt,

        the word is expound,

        glen

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      matt,

      you went silent. what i can tell about duchamp and dropped large glass, is that something looks better after a disaster of broken glass happens. like a person behind bars is more interesting than a portrait in the park. the comment: i like it, i asume you like the present state of additions, makes it more interesting for you. so be it.

      glen

  • eric chavkin

    One needs to write a primer on Marxist aesthetics There are two stages; the first is revolutionary with new ideas, concepts, a completer re-invention of society. The art and social expression of the French revolution,our American revolution, the Soviet revolution, the Mexican, The Chinese etc,and more recent the Cuban, at the aftermath of their revolution there was a an incredible outpouring of creativity in the arts. Complete freedom to reinvent the world. This was revolutionary aesthetics.

    It gave us the French ‘citizen’ and LIBERTY EQUALITY FRATERNITY and the art and literature of Neoclassicism. The American renaissance of our declaration of Independence, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson and Thoreau. Soviet Constructivism, The mural movement and modern literature in Mexico, The reorganization of China, the explosion of Cuban arts, and in a way your entry to Nicaragua, with your revolutionary designs twenty years ago

    But after the revolution comes party politics, the preservation of the people, the cult of the proletariat, the idolatry of the masses, what “the people’ want. The consensus of the ignorant.

    Now it is all about power, keeping it, suppressing the individuals for the greater good. The revolutionary fire has been extinguished.

    It was just a matter of time.

    later

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      eric,

      what you say is so true. everybody has an opinion about architecture, sculpture, painting.

      in nicaragua it is now controlled by rosario what the public will see. her own little studio, she knows best for what the people need. i have a bit of that in me as well, and i am disappointed there was not more of an outcry about destroying the fountain and putting all this stuff on the acoustical shell.

      my read is i have failed, that people really do not give a damn what is there, that it is a stage set that comes and goes for life, and only instant gradification for a limited time.

      rosario knows best for the the country. what a sad state of affairs, such a limited woman.

      glen

  • eric chavkin

    Glen I wouln’t say failed. You do not have the political clout, nor ‘correct’ aesthetic. You are also not the exception but actually the rule. Individuality, no matter hoe benign, is a threat. Think of corporate America….

    Forget about Fascism. This is plain ordinary fear by the party powerful. Art is the weapon that they want to control but it is part of mankind and what defines humanity.

    The weapon of choice , if you want to fight them is humor. Parody, Sarcasm , Satire, Ridicule. These are the tools of choice to break the stranglehold of censorship. When the people see their leaders as fools, they cannot rule.

    That’s my secret and I’m NOT telling anybody

    haha eric

  • eric chavkin

    Glen ,, there is a theory of history that goes like this: Great cities produce great culture. Mumford alludes to this in THE CITY IN HISTORY and Tonyebee just says it in his CITIES OF DESTINY. Cities are where culture develops and Great Cultures innovate. Great culture, and I include Architecture, doesn’t come out of the jungle, or the desert, or even American suburbs. It is the interactions within the city that makes these happen. This was my argument in keeping the arts district in Downtown Los Angeles and not kill the golden goose of creativity. ( at that time it was in danger of disappearing, today another story)

    ,Throughout the 20thC there have been few centers of innovation, Since WW2, what Bohemian Paris, Greenich Village NYC, Some London, Tokyo, Berllin, Los Angeles..

    The rest of the world imitates. Badly lots of times. The dynamic mix just isnt there.. Nicaraugua may be beautiful b ut it is in the boondocks, nothing there.. Your Green Machine, etc . would never of happened in that environment.

    Now to the point. These small rural, third world places just dont innovate,They copy. The models are old, failed attempts. Marx said that the revolution would happen in the most advanced, ie developed Capitalist nations. I would n not count on Nicaragua being advance in thinking. A ‘green’ revolution is beyond them.

    How you got anything done there is amazing. You had a smart, far-seeing friend in Lewities. And you were the right man at that brief moment in time.

    good morning ,,eric

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      eric,

      the tropisphere is my latest gift at trying to influence cities. i gave the idea to the world of cities. will they listen? to date nothing.

      the client is the key, yes herty lewites was the right man to move forward, and if he had lived and become president of nicaragua, managua would have become an example of what the world city should emulate. not the perfect client, but he might have gather conviction as we got more ideas built. he had the guts and charm to get his ideas done.

      who is the client of american cities? at the moment controlled by numerous sources that fight each other. the big ideas are almost impossible to spawn. nicaragua is focused with a leader with absolute control. my days are over here.
      as you said, had my chance, did my thing, move on.

      glen

  • http://www.baranstudio.com Matt Baran

    Hi Glen. I guess I failed to check the ‘notify me of new posts’ box.

    I suppose what I like is that it now has some levity. My feeling is that you take your work, and architecture, far too seriously. Some still think architecture is going to generate a revolution. Still, after all these years and failed attempts. Will they ever learn indeed. It should be a little more fun than that. It’s all going to dust in the long run anyhow. As George Carlin famously said, the planet isn’t going anywhere, but the people…

    I suppose with that said, I would ask who you are trying to save? I mean, if the masses are asses, fuck ‘em.

    That studio of ours was nonsense when it turned toward the skyscraper. The original concept was for a ‘land-scraper’, which was intended to be diametrically opposed to the massive phalic symbol that is supposed to be the thing we are all somehow to desire, to strive to achieve. I have truly never had any interest in such a thing.

    I’m far more interested in seeing what’s there already, and seeing what it might become. Something like a seed. Coaxed from existing contexts. And on the smallest scale. Even invisible perhaps. These types of ‘design’ have grown out of the Great Recession. Resourcefulness. Bootstrapping. Flexibiltiy. The result has no less potential impact than some structural colossus. But I still wouldn’t take it too seriously.

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      matt,

      thank you for your comments. you, the humble one who races around close to death. take care of yourself, you are precious. and if you do, your time on earth will at least bring you some laughs,

      i was not trying to save anything with the acoustical shell. just an object to bring joy to Nicaragua. the shell had demonstrated it could bring beauty and entertainment. now it is a political statement. the use drastically changed. yes, my first reaction was to laugh at how absurd the makeover was.

      i think the makeover is something else to you. you did not like all the wavy uplifting stuff of my design, not your thing.

      i am trying to put the makeover in context to what you feel is dear. your modernism take on small lots in historical neighborhoods. somebody, buying one and changing your modernist gem to french provincial. yes you would laugh, but be upset at the destruction of your effort to bring design to the world, even if it was just for a fleeting moment of history.

      your take on the high rise class we taught together is weird. besides remodels, small scale development, and seeking out left over spaces in san francisco, there are high rises being built. whether you like high rises or not is of no consequence. the objective of education in architecture, is to make a student aware of the world that is being built. high rises construction is all over the world, our class was loaded with students with money and connections that probably will end up building high rises. you were an exceptional professor in that class and got significant positive results from the students. live with you strengths and be happy.

      who are you to dictate what should be built? it sounds to me like you are playing god and are a bit too serious.

      enjoy yourself and the world,

      glen

  • http://www.nicaraguanbooks.blogspot.com Roli

    Dear Glen:

    Aesthetic & Artistic structures are not usually appreciated by people who lack education and imagination.

    Cheers,

  • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

    ROLANDO,

    I BEG TO DIFFER WITH YOU, THERE IS A SPIRIT OF FORM THAT TRANSENDS THE OBVIOUS. THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, THE SYMBOL OF AUSTATLIA, THE TAJ MAHAL OF INDIA, GOTHIC CATHEDRALS OF EUROPE, ETC. WHEN A CERTAIN LEVEL OF BEAUTY IS REACHED EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS. THAT IS WHAT THE ACOUSTICAL SHELL HAS. NO, IT WAS SIGNIFICANTLY ALTERED FOR OTHER REASONS.

    GLEN

    • http://www.nicaraguanbooks.blogspot.com Roli

      I know your thought is more profound. Good poets know how to interpret poetry.
      I see your point now. Thank you for the explanation.
      My perception is more of a typical common man.
      What I meant was that the additional metal trees and picture destroy part of the essense of the original structure you designed.

  • Arq. Alfonso Hernandez (Nicaraguan)

    Me cuesta creer, que esta hermosísima obra arquitectónica sea hoy un montón de escombros. Si necesitaban el espacio para un nuevo proyecto, por que permitieron que la creatividad haya cedido a la mediocridad, y hayan tomado el camino de la brutalidad; el camino más deshonroso y perverso. Si la destruyeron para borrar de la faz de Nicaragua la huella de su adversario político, pues ciertamente dejan en evidencia que le han temido y le siguen temblando hasta hoy día, más allá de su propia muerte, poniendo en tela de juicio las causas de su fallecimiento. Los que destruyeron esas obras arquitectónicas han querido dañar a sus más cercanos adversarios políticos, pero nos han dañado a todos aquellos que no tenemos nada que ver con sus propias reyertas. “Por estos edificios, yo si los maldigo”

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rolando-tellez/27/637/a3b Rolando Tellez

    Dear Mr. Small.

    The more blogs you write, the better content you give. Popularity depends on the title of your blog. On Internet traffict, it depends on how much you share with the different social networks. Also, you can advise google of your new blog for better standing.

    Check one of my latest blogs. The damned Gueguense or Nicaraguan in the US.

    http://gueguenseusa.blogspot.com/

    Everything is good,

    Roly

  • HectorSalgado

    Hi Glen. This is Hector, Marianne’s husband, and Lucia’s good friend from Santa Cruz. First time I see your work in Nicaragua. Love what you did in Managua with THE CONCHA ACUSTICA. What they did later is garbage…