DC's New WWII Memorial: Grand And Bland

Architecture critic John Gallager reviews the new World War II memorial in Washington D.C.
April 26, 2004, 6am PDT | Abhijeet Chavan
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"For a generation, the term "war memorial" has evoked images of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial......the new World War II memorial packs nowhere near the emotional wallop of Lin's wall of names. Handsome and impressive, stately and dignified, the new memorial avoids risks and any hint of artistic boldness or historic controversy...

Let's not forget that while now revered, Lin's design was at first reviled...Shortly after it opened, critics demanded (and got) the addition nearby of a more conventionally heroic sculpture of U.S. soldiers.

...But friction often produces more compelling art than consensus. The World War II memorial is positive and noncontroversial to the point of blandness.

No one will revile this memorial as unheroic or un-American, as they did with Lin's Vietnam wall. But neither can I see anyone touching the stone and weeping, as do they do at the Vietnam memorial. It's just not that kind of monument."

[WWII Memorial Website]

Thanks to Abhijeet Chavan

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Published on Sunday, April 25, 2004 in The Detroit Free Press
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