Wednesday, December 16, 2009

corcoran to build temporary "big top" addition


In a stunning move announced this morning by spokeswoman Kristin Guiter, the Corcoran Gallery of Art will be building an ambitious temporary addition to its exhibition space.

Composed of canvas, wooden poles, and sturdy rope, and designed by the Sarasota-based firm, Ringling, Barnum, & Bailey, the 15,000 square foot addition will offer the opportunity for the Corcoran, as Guiter put it: "...to mount three rings of vital, contemporary cultural programming."

Many no doubt remember the Corcoran's plan to build an addition designed by star architect Frank Gehry, one that its board abandoned in 2005. Questions have already been raised about the Corcoran's will to follow through with this new "big tent strategy".

"I think we've learned a lot since then," Guiter explained. "The new structure's obvious advantages are that it's cheap, temporary, and colorful--and it can accommodate a multitude of exotic animals."

Washington Post art critic Blake Gopnik expressed some reservations about the proposed big top wing. "Look, art must be experienced for hours at a stretch, in rapt contemplation, preferably while utterly, existentially alone," he explained. "This tent, unfortunately, is apt to draw chattering, happy crowds--not to mention lion tamers, trapezists, bearded ladies..."

New York Times writer Nicolai Ouroussof, meanwhile, expressed nothing but optimism about the new tent. "This could be something that Washington's cultural life has never before featured: A place where countless clowns can tumble inexplicably, one after another, out of a teeny tiny car."

The city should expect a sudden influx of roustabouts in early 2011, when construction is scheduled to begin.

[Editor's note: I made all of this up.]

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