Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BATCHAWANA. Points North

Two days of brilliant sunshine, that brought to mind Stieglitz, O'Keefe and Sante Fe. And two days of unbroken fog -- grayer than the Thames. Or Whistler or Turner. Pump priming and paint. Electrical wires. Wild flowers. Blackflies. And an old "Batchawana cottage" copy of Longfellow. I'd forgotten Longfellow. Or that "language" could be, simply, so beautiful.

I'm not sure when "educated" people learned not to read Longfellow. Although Lawrence Buell had a clear opinion in his introduction to Penguin's 1988 Anthology. ----- "In short, he fared badly within a Critical Framework that is scholarly (a fondness for intricacy), modernist (the equation of alienated pessimism with the authentic) and American Centered. " Well now, doesn't that sound familiar?

I first learned of Peirce Anderson some five years ago, when, by accident, I purchased a biography of Benjamin Latrobe that had belonged to him. And only slowly learned of his remarkable architectural contributions to the City of Chicago. Marshall Field and Company. The Field Museum. Union Station. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, The Illinois Merchants Bank. The Insurance Exchange. The strong advocate of the architectural component of the Burnham Plan. And a legacy of the Beaux Arts Architects he brought to Graham Anderson Probst and White. How could he have been erased. Impossibly. Right off the map.

Are we Architects, Artists, Poets, so weak, so unsure that we cannot allow and respect a flourish of stylistic variation within our ranks. That we must all be born-again thus-and-so's. within a Critical Framework. That we must destroy variation to justify ourselves? No Longfellow with the Dickinson. No Tuckerman, no never. Burnham okay with the Plan. But not the Architecture. And certainly, certainly, no Anderson with the Sullivan.

Not in fog . Not in sunshine. -- The vacation is over. Time to head back to LaSalle Street

No comments:

Post a Comment