I'm learning the art (or is it a craft?) of stained glass. At this weblog, I record progress, note useful links, and document flesh wounds.
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April 20, 2003: Unrebuilding Iraq
Eve and I were at last successful in our quest to go see the Frank Lloyd Wright leaded glass exhibit at the Renwick this weekend. I have a few photos and a few musings to share, but not now (I find myself update-averse just lately, for no other reason than ennui; I'll get over it eventually). However, I did promise Eve I'd re-find a link I'd seen on Anil Dash's site about circa-1950s Frank Lloyd Wright designs for several buildings in Baghdad.
None of the buildings were ever erected, due to a "military coup" that "put an end to this project." The precision of really well-executed architectural drawings is itself fascinating, though, and too it's as timely as it will ever be to consider an alternate reality in which U.S. bombs have destroyed some of the last buildings designed by the country's best-loved architect.
I wonder how the keening and wailing over such destruction, over in that parallel universe, would compare to that over the theft and the mindless destruction of cultural and artistic treasures thousands of years old that has taken place in Iraq in our present, unlovely reality. While that story has become a hot one just lately, as the networks exhaust their last caches of film of pretty explosions, I still suspect that a lot of Americans just don't grasp the hugeness of what's been lost. For many of us, our sense of ancient history goes back exactly 227 years, and stops. From such a perspective, is the value of cultural artifacts five thousand years old truly comprehensible? It's like the difference between a million and a billion: mathematically quite precise, but in practical terms, completely abstract in the minds of most. There are riches, and then there are riches.
If---for argument's sake---eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings had been erected in Baghdad in the late fifties to early sixties, and if every one had been destroyed inside a few weeks of early 2003, that destruction would even so be nearly meaningless compared to all that has been lost in Iraq in the last few weeks.
Posted by Michelle on April 20, 2003 11:26 PM
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