I hereby passionately denounce Herbert Muschamp as a pretentious fool. He:
- loves to drop names that only a tiny fraction of the readers will recognize.
- loves to launch into esoteric flights of near-meaningless theoretical jargon and baseless metaphors.
- loves to then switch into chatty, cornball, vernacular use of "low" language (he repeatedly used the phrase "bling-bling" in describing Rem Koolhaas' new Seattle Public Library).
- loves rich people.
- loves skyscrapers.
- is a complete ass.
- makes my blood boil.
Herb was unique. Sure, the new architecture critics frequently annoy me. Certainly, there's still no shortage of arrogant cultural insularity in the Times' Arts section. But it's not the same. Herb could be an ass in a way that these new kids can barely conceive of. He could spout more crap from his little finger than most people can spout from their entire body (eesh! sorry about that).
So I won't tell you what to think. I will simply let Herb speak for himself. Love him. Hate him. Ignore him. The choice is yours.
The man in his own words:
On Miucca Prada:
"She has made the world safe for people with overdeveloped inner lives."On the opening of the Prada store in SoHo:
"She is an artist: she would rather hide than speak."
"No one needs Prada to gain access to the work of Louise Bourgeois or Anish Kapoor."
"Prada's cultural projects interest me chiefly because they help to clarify the personality and intentions of a fashion genius. "
"We admire her for the same reason we have always admired Italians. No one can match their talent for engineering mythologies of daily life."
"If there was luxury in the air, it wasn't coming from the clothes, the fancy in-store technology or even the fabulous blocklong space. The luxury was making contact with people you hadn't seen together in one place since 9/11. It was the experience of being with the most solipsistic people on earth and loving them more than ever."On MoMA's "Tall Buildings" exhibit:
"Frank Lloyd Wright created luxury from empty space, Chanel from jersey sportswear, Louis Kahn from poured concrete. Prada creates it out of the desire to be rescued from the isolation that a creative life demands."
"Disembedding without re-embedding: that's how I'd summarize the general thrust of architecture during the period covered by this show. Ulrich Beck, the German sociologist, wasn't thinking about architecture when he coined that phrase. Mr. Beck was talking about the impact of globalization on individual identity. But the impact on design has been roughly the same."Bless his heart.
"Fecundity of form gets great play here, but that is a different matter. We've come a long way from the time when 'modern' signified identical glass boxes. Some skeptics deplore the heterogeneity of today's design as a manifestation of ego, the flaunting of signature statements by star architects. What it actually reflects is the recognition that the city is a libidinous proposition, an experiment in desire."
"Americans are easily shamed these days into renouncing habits. And we are quick to thwart the desires of those who won't go along with our disapproval. Skyscrapers need no justification. But it would be worth building higher merely to disembed ourselves from fear."
Note: And how is our tally going?
- Herbert Muschamp - check
- Hatred - sort of