My parents returned safely from Denver today.
My brother was an excellent host, as I knew he would be.
Most of the time during their visit, my parents simply visited with my brother in his condo. There is not much to do in Denver—it is “a frightful cow town”, according to my mother, and my brother readily agrees with her—and my parents long ago had seen pretty much everything worth seeing there.
My brother did take my parents out to dinner on Saturday night, and on Sunday afternoon he took them to see the new Libeskind building, which my parents had seen during its construction phase. Otherwise, however, they all stayed in all weekend. My mother did some cooking for my brother, and they all watched a couple of movies on DVD, and they talked about our upcoming London trip and other things, and the weekend passed too quickly.
My parents had been very curious to see the completed Libeskind building, because they had seen it so many times during its construction phase and because they had read the disastrous reviews of the building when it opened last October.
My father’s judgment: “The New York Times was kind”. He was referring to the New York Times architecture critic’s celebrated review of the Libeskind building, which declared the building to be a spectacular and colossal failure, inside and out.
My mother’s judgment: “It looks like a shopping mall. Maybe they can take advantage of that, and finally unload all of that Remington stuff.”
The new Denver building has veritably destroyed Libeskind’s reputation, as many have noted (some with glee). I don’t think that Libeskind’s reputation will ever recover from such a major disaster.
Paul Goldberger has written that one of the problems with the Denver building was that there was no person on the Denver Art Museum’s Board Of Trustees who was knowledgeable about art or architecture, and who could have pointed out some of the more glaring deficiencies in the design and demanded that certain changes be made. Goldberger, somewhat uncharitably, pointed out that a building so problematic could never be erected in a “first-tier” city, where talented board members are abundant.
The repercussions are not expected to end anytime soon. According to the art press, the Director of the Denver Art Museum is expected to get the ax very, very soon—and things at the museum are in such a dismal state, widely-known within the field, that Denver will not be able to attract anyone serious as a replacement.
Tonight my parents drove to our apartment straight from the airport. The dog was very glad to see them, and they were very glad to see him. The dog was jumping up and down in excitement as soon as he heard my father’s car, so Joshua and I took him outside to greet my parents as soon as they stepped from the car.
“Didn’t you feed this poor little thing?” my mother asked us, in jest, as the dog practically climbed all over her and my Dad.
Joshua and I gave my parents a nice dinner: barbecued chicken, and potato salad, and baked beans, and sweet corn, and cole slaw. We had orange cookies for dessert.
As soon as dinner was over, my parents went home. They wanted to get settled in, and unpack, and read their mail, and get the dog settled in, before bedtime.
Tomorrow night, Josh and I will play basketball, but the rest of the week should be uneventful. We loved having the dog with us, but we are also looking forward to a little peace and quiet. In a small apartment, he can be exhausting.