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Ho ho ho! It’s that time of year again. Here’s JHK’s holiday classic: A Christmas Orphan.

11-year-old Jeff Greenaway hears his mom and dad argue one night after an office Christmas party. He infers from their garbled squabble that he is an orphan, found in a willow basket on the welcome mat outside their New York apartment. Thinking now that his parents are imposters, he steals away to Grand Central Station and buys a train ticket to Drakesville, Vermont, where he intends to start life all over again.
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JHK’s lost classic now reprinted as an e-book
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Featured Eyesore of the Month

September 2015

James Howard Kunstler : September 3, 2015 7:48 am : Eyesore of the Month

Gardiner
Behold: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston all pimped out with exciting bling! (Note the “gold” chain supporting the colorful whaddayacallit — five-armed ju-ju talisman? Hypnotic ass pillow?)  Here’s what the Gardner Museum Bulletin says about it:

 

Fenway Deity is part of the Garden Deities series created by Ken Smith. The large inflatable installation, with a psychedelic spiral pattern and gold chain, will hang from the historic façade of the Museum facing the Boston Fens. Deity riffs on the Gardner’s large wheel window on the building’s rear façade, forming a transect line through the Museum, between the window and the installation. Spiritually speaking, Fenway Deity responds to the Museum’s 2012 relocation of its entrance to Evans Way—it will serve as a new conduit for the Museum’s creative energy to protect the Fens from bad spirits and promote environmental renewal, health, and happiness along the Fenway and beyond.

The 2015 Landscape installation by Ken Smith is sponsored by the Friends of John Magee, in memory and celebration of his life in gratitude for his service to the Gardner Museum.

Those are some pretty big claims for the Deity. If it’s all meant to be ironic — you know, tongue-in-cheek, — then the sponsors obviously don’t mean it. You just say shit because it’s fun. Any kind of shit, as long as you employ the metaphysical jargon of art graduate school, of course. The “installation…” “riffs…” it “responds to….” And who is against “creative energy?”

Makes you wonder, though. What would it be like to live in a culture where artists really mean it when they make something? Instead of just putting on a stunt to satisfy the terms of a grant.

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September 2015

James Howard Kunstler : September 3, 2015 7:48 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston all pimped out with exciting bling! (Note the “gold” chain supporting the colorful whaddayacallit — five-armed ju-ju talisman? Hypnotic ass pillow?)  Here’s what the Gardner Museum Bulletin says about it:   Fenway Deity is part of the Garden Deities series created by Ken Smith. The large inflatable installation, with a more »

August 2015

James Howard Kunstler : August 4, 2015 12:54 pm : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the Anaheim, CA,  Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC). It’s a LEED Platinum champeen! It is also running a $2 million operating deficit after opening earlier this year. Revenue was expected from naming rights, but so far no corporation has paid to have its name plastered on the end-wall. An average of 460 Metrolink and 300 more »

July 2015

James Howard Kunstler : July 3, 2015 10:16 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the condo renovation of the Holy Trinity German Church and Rectory in Boston’s South End designed by Finegold Alexander & Associates for developer New Boston Ventures. It was approved a few weeks ago by the Boston redevelopment agency. Granted, the task does raise the question: just how do you cram 33 condo units to a structure more »

June 2015

James Howard Kunstler : June 1, 2015 12:50 pm : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the “Pterodactyl,” a combination parking garage and office structure designed by Eric Owen Moss for Culver City, California, To this observer, it’s more train wreck than prehistoric flying reptile. It’s also yet another demonstration of how buildings can be torqued and tweaked with computer-aided design (CAD) in order to produce maximum maintenance problems and the more »

May 2015

James Howard Kunstler : May 4, 2015 11:45 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the new Government Center Transit (“T”) stop in Boston, Mass., with the 1966-vintage “Brutalist” City Hall looming balefully in the background. What you see here is the artist’s computer rendering. See below for a photograph of the actual thing under construction. Thanks to Architecture blogger David Brussat for illuminating the failures of this humdinger: more »

April 2015

James Howard Kunstler : April 2, 2015 11:45 am : Eyesore of the Month
I waited until April 2 because this is no joke. Behold the proposed new Kingdom Tower for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia — at one full kilometer in height, about twice the size of New York’s new Freedom Tower. The  Kingdom Tower comprises 252 floors of mixed market apartments, hotel rooms, and offices. It is an axiom that more »

March 2015

James Howard Kunstler : March 2, 2015 11:33 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the proposed new Google headquarters, Mountain View (Silicon Valley), CA. Google, of course, has enough walking around money in its deep pockets to indulge in the most fantastic architectural status stunt — meaning that the diminishing returns of great wealth and cleverness will bite extra hard. This, uh, structure, by Bjark Ingles and Thomas more »

February 2015

James Howard Kunstler : February 2, 2015 12:51 pm : Eyesore of the Month
Here come the borgs! Introducing the new US Federal Courthouse in Salt lake City designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners. They’ve really caught that old security state spirit in a building that looks uncannily like the computer server that contains your credit record, your tax filings, your phone log, your internet purchase trail, the drone photos more »

January 2015

James Howard Kunstler : January 5, 2015 11:19 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold, another 80-story hotel / condo tower by the industrious Chicago architect Jeanne Gang for a site on the south bank of the Chicago River. I suggest this new style be labeled “architwerkture,” since it looks like a digitized schematic representation of something Miley Cyrus might do on an awards show. The project is a more »

December 2014

James Howard Kunstler : December 2, 2014 9:25 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the grandiosity of the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art proposed for the Chicago lakefront. It is unclear exactly what it might contain besides the costumes and props for Lucas’s Star Wars cinema franchise.  The public relations bullshit cooked up to promote this roughly 30–story-tall monstrosity tells the tale in superlative bombast: The Lucas more »
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