Regarding Philip Kennicott’s Dec. 18 Sunday Arts review, “The ‘barefoot boy’ and the stepped-on toes”:
The review suggested that the proposed monument in the District to Dwight D. Eisenhower will feminize the memory of the man who became the supreme commander of allied forces in Europe and president of the United States, because the masculine theme is so exhausted. Woe to America if this is so. I don’t recall that the feminine virtues were in much demand at Normandy.
Only an effete artistic and intellectual community that is self-alienated from its civilization could have produced so pathetic a theme for such a great man. The people expect testosterone, expressed in marble and bronze, in monuments to their heroes but are served up only estrogen-drenched cardboard. Shame.
Peter G. Tsouras, Alexandria
Dwight Eisenhower was a man of authority and action. A representation of Eisenhower as a teenager camping with some friends may suggest a common touch, but it enfeebles the commanding stature of the man. It’s like removing the statue of Abraham Lincoln from the Lincoln Memorial and replacing it with a depiction of Lincoln lying under the Kentucky trees reading the Bible or Shakespeare.
But we are living in a post-heroic age, so Frank Gehry’s proposal will probably stand.
William V. Wishard, Lake Ridge
Why weren’t all American designers given the opportunity to submit proposals for the Eisenhower memorial? The method for doing that is a very well-organized and well-managed open-design competition. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial, the 9/11 Memorial in New York City and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis are ample evidence of the reliability of open-design competitions.
The design process for the Eisenhower memorial should have been open to all. It still can be, if the Gehry design is rejected.
Paul D. Spreiregen, Washington
The writer, an architect, served as an adviser for design competitions in the District, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the World Bank Headquarters.