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Venice Afloat

From the March 2020 Print Edition

An observer of a Spenglerian bent might just write Venice off, taking the floods that afflict the city with increasing frequency as the finishing touches on a long-running spectacle of political, economic, and cultural decline. That decline, spanning half a millennium, has by now reduced the city to . . . . Continue Reading »

Building to No Purpose

From the February 2020 Print Edition

Architecture can reflect the progress of a civilization, but Hudson Yards is not about civilization. Its buildings reflect the futility of a “progressive” design sensibility cut off from the past and wedded to novelty and formal dissonance as ends in themselves. The mixed-use development rises . . . . Continue Reading »

The Florentine Pietà

From the December 2017 Print Edition

In the late 1540s, an aging Michelangelo embarked on what he intended to be his culminating sculptural work, commonly known as the Florentine Pietà. Still heavily tasked with official commissions—foremost among them the rebuilding of St. Peter’s—and sometimes incapacitated by . . . . Continue Reading »

A Memorial to Forget

From the November 2014 Print Edition

Monuments have always been intended to embody the past and elevate the spirit, but the new $700-million National September 11 Memorial and Museum in Lower Manhattan is a downer in more ways than one. The same goes for the dismal architectural ensemble taking shape around it. The original World Trade . . . . Continue Reading »