In 1989, architectural critic Herbert Muschamp wrote an essay for the New York Times, “How Buildings Remember”, that was in part the first review of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. In it, he discussed Modernism, transparency, the uneasy intimate relationship between art and politics, wondered aloud how much a museum should be responsible – or even can be responsible – for in terms of absolution, the Holocaust Museum type, and ended on an unsettling parallel between old and new propaganda and the timeless persistence of denial. He describes carefully, almost tenderly, James Freed’s formal, spatial, and material answers to the question, “How does a building represent a catastrophe?”
But sometimes, the building IS the catastrophe.
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