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Architects Design for Hell

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For years, I’ve been harping about the latest craze in the art world: the CELEBRITY ARCHITECT/CELEBRITY BUILDING. Thanks to thoughtless, egotistical dipshits like Frank Gehry (Bilbao), Richard Meier (Getty), and Stephen Holl (Bellevue) — with a lot of aid from the LAP-DOG FOURTH ESTATE and architectural CRITICS who refuse to see the Emperor’s Nekkid Flabby Ass—this new trend takes advantage of the thoughtless, egotistical idiots on the Museums’ Board of Directors—whose goals for their new multi-million dollar buildings are in the FOLLOWING ORDER OF IMPORTANCE:

1) Must NOT look like a building; must NOT accommodate the display of art; better to resemble a kitchen utensil for the Jetsons or a Martian marital aid.

2) PHOTO of said building MUST make a fantastic POST CARD, T-SHIRT, MOUSE PAD, and COFFEE CUP.

3) Must have GIGANTIC RESTAURANT, plus a GIFT SHOP masquerading as a “book store”, since long ago, all ‘non-profits’ decided that education would take a distant back seat to PROFITS.

(Bonus Historical Quiz: “Who was the first Museum Director to decide that STUFFING YOUR FACE was an integral part of the art experience?”—quote attributed to Dr. Charles F. Stuckey, ca. 1998)

4) Designer MUST TRY TOO HARD to be creative; NO right angles. Must over-emphasize “natural light”—despite the fact that most art works take a severe beating from direct sunlight.

5) Pre- and post-opening publicity should make it clear that the BUILDING and its architect are MUCH more interesting and important than any of the art or the artists represented inside.

As you can see, the actual displaying of the art—and the comfort and convenience of potential visitors ISN’T INCLUDED anywhere on the list of art museum priorities.

This trend is so ubiquitous, people have taken to calling it “THE BILBAO EFFECT” in honor of Frank Gehry’s Gigantic Shiny Waring Blender in Bilbao, Spain. (Der Guggenheim)

You’d think that any Museum Board and Curatorial Staff who commissioned a new building for fifty or sixty million dollars would want to CONSIDER how the art might be displayed.

You’d think.

But you’d be wrong.

Anyway, here’s an excerpt from a hilarious story from the (1/25/04) NY Times that sort of says it all:

“Just three days into a new exhibition this past September, the Bellevue Art Museum in Bellevue, Wash., abruptly closed its doors and suspended programming. Among the reasons were regional financial woes, an unclear mission and leadership conflicts. But another, less familiar issue was also raised: the museum’s building, a three-year-old avant-garde edifice designed by the New York architect Stephen Holl. As the article explained, public support for the new museum was weakened by “galleries poorly suited to traditional art shows.”

Wha!! Lemme read that AGAIN!




Anyone remember the ol’ “Form Follows Function” mantra?

Apparently, that concept no longer fits into a ‘post-modern’ world that values appearance over effectiveness. Which means you get over-designed art museums that can’t accommodate art or the patrons.

So what’s my point? What does this mean for the FUTURE OF MANKIND IN GENERAL?



ie. we get things like:

-SUVs that have more cup-holders than seats;

-movies that have more special effects than plot;

-web sites that have more sound/video/animation/spinning logos/loading time
than actual CONTENT;

-lots of input with no information;

-lots of flash with no function;

-lots of crap with no context;

etc, etc, etc.

And I warned you it would be bad! I warned you but you wouldn’t listen! And now there’s only one thing left to do to save the world from destruction:


*And if you’re like the average American citizen—and 98% of YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, and CO-WORKERS ARE “DESIGNERS” of some sort, then simply encourage them to off themselves in a neat and timely fashion.

Seriously. The future of the world depends on it.

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About Mark Shark

  • ya know….me & Mac Diva have been wondering where Mr. Barger has gone.

    …and here’s yer answer:


  • I’ll agree that Frank Gehry’s works are odd looking and strange, but give the guy credit, his ideas for his buildings spawn from the thought of using recycled and affordable materials. It’s an environmental (and economical) thing and I think that’s at least a worthy cause, despite the lack of aesthetics to the general audience.

  • re. “…his buildings spawn from the thought of using recycled and affordable materials…”

    Yeah, like that inexpensive, ubiquitous recycled material found in so many junk piles and trash dumps:


  • hey, how come your post calls for mass murder, yet your blog comments say, “Personal attacks are not allowed?” after all, who designed your blog template or the graphics on your site? the car you drive? the software you used to post your hate speech (not to mention the hardware it runs on, the desk that hardware sits on, or the power plant that generates power to fuel your half-brained blog/advertisement-gimmick). designers come in all shapes and sizes – just like regular people, and for a good reason.

    if designers are all dead when this impending world destruction comes, you’ll be in bad shape, because all that will be left is farmers, rednecks, business people, and bloggers. i vote that bloggers are the first to get eaten!

  • david b

    ha. why is art more important that architecture? why is it ok for profession to get paid to express themselves, while another labors in obscurity?