Modern art 9

The Concert hall that Beijing will not get. Beijing. Fall 2001
Gouache/paper 55 x 65 cm.


Having decided to build a new concert hall in the capital Beijing, in 2000, the Chinese Government called for bids from architects and designers. They received proposals from around the world and after long deliberations, the selection committee decided to award the contract to Paul Andreau, the French architect who had built Shanghai's International airport. His project was to build a half sphere, covered with titanium plates, wherein the different concert rooms would be encased.

A storm of protests erupted from the Chinese architect community and the project was cancelled.

After many months of silence, the selection committee decided to reaward the contract to the French architect. JIANG Jemin's voice triumphed, Beijing would have its modernist monument.

Witness of all this affair, I put my own idea on paper...

The most amazing came after Paul Andreu's Paris new terminal at Charles de Gaulle crashed unexpectedly only 6 months
after its opening. Beijing was sweating, the talk was now all about the calculations of the construction that they had started under Andreu's direction?

But more importantly, how shall their leaders' monument to modernity reflect upon
Beijingers and all chinese for that matter? Let's just for an instant imagine what has been Beijing's masters deep motive. Is it proudness of their culture and civilization or is it some sort of deeply burried shame that makes them reject all Chineseness and root for a deeply Western take on modernity?
In the end, should Andreu's selection not be seen as something akin to Jiang jemin dyeing his hair in yellow

The New York Times, of August 1st 2004, had an article by SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN entitled Frank Gehry's Mideast Peace Plan. It seems that Gehry's take on modernity succeeded where all the world is failing since years. Israelis and Palestinians at the end can agree on something: they hate Gehry's Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance. They hate this Western cubist cliche of modernity.
Could we one day see the Chinese united in hating Andreu's vision and toring his monument down?

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