New York


Richard L. Feigen & Co

The pastoral ideal has a field day at the exhibit of sketches for monumental structures at the Feigen Gallery. Everyone wants to humanize the landscape. The plans included here attack a wide range of sites: the countryside, the city, the ocean, the desert—even a crater of the moon, which becomes a nest for Willenbecher’s daisy shaped set of ten giant metal balls. The most romantic structures are those intended for deserts or other desolate areas: Ronald Bladen’s set of three giant slabs continually moving back and forth in parallel tracks and Tony Smith’s Tower of Winds, a pierced hollow zigurrat to be built of reinforced concrete, 88 feet high.

The same concept of the monument as an emblem of isolation occurs in Hans Hollein’s sketches, which plunk down airplane carriers or enormous mushrooms of irregular rock in the midst of urban landscapes. Will Insley and Gerald Laing proceed in the opposite direction, setting stark metal structures of angled planes in the gentle countryside. Buckminster Fuller proposes to construct pyramid-shaped floating cities as a solution to urban blight; Christo merely suggests wrapping up some of the buildings in Chicago’s Loop with twine and brown paper. The two most visually imaginative plans are Oldenburg’s monument for Stockholm, which would have to be seen from the air in order to reveal fully the giant door handle and the pair of keys that compose it, and Otto Frei’s project for the West German Pavilion at the Montreal Exposition. This prize-winning design of steel nets supported by masts of various heights promises to be equally exciting from above and below.

Amy Goldin