New melee over Melania’s Rose Garden renovation ignores Noguchi sculpture

The White House has been rocked by a new controversy over the renovation of the Rose Garden. A well-known sculptor, Isamu Noguchi, the subject of the sculpture, has accused the renovation crew of failing to respect his work. Noguchi, who died in 1977, is best known for his use of industrial materials and lack of formal training in art.

​Perhaps the greatest evidence of Donald Trump’s incompetence as a leader was his decision to renovate the White House’s Rose Garden. It was the largest public space in the United States and Trump’s plan centered around a $100,000 fountain that would feature a 60-foot blue orb in the center. The orb was quickly dismissed as a terrible idea, and now it’s being replaced by a design that will abide by the National Park Service’s guidelines. Why?

Almost a year after the White House renovation project was announced, Melania Trump’s Rose Garden renovation, which is slated for completion in October, has become a hotly-contested topic. One side argues that the renovation must restore the historic Rose Garden to its original splendor, while the other side argues that changing the design of the Rose Garden would destroy Noguchi’s sculpture, “Flowers”, and is an insult to the First Lady.

 

One cannot expect media attention to be given to self-expression – to art – in a society blitzed by Covid and variations, by climate change fires and floods, and by all the political conflicts. Understood.

However, when numerous news sources cover the current squabble about Melania Trump’s renovation of the White House Rose Garden while ignoring the sculpture she placed there, it shows that art, even when in plain sight, doesn’t register until it sells a record. Otherwise, it’s as if it’s a fungus. It’s there, but you’re not paying attention

High jinks of a historian

The news article in question includes a tweet from presidential historian Michael Beschloss commemorating Melania Trump’s makeover one year ago. He described it as a “evisceration” of Jackie Kennedy’s vision. Melania had razed trees, replaced flower beds with her own creations, and paved over pathways. As a result, it seemed “eviscerated” in its early stages. However, she was correct in objecting to the photo used by Beschloss since it depicted the new garden before it blossomed.

Melania has reason to point out that the picture Beschloss chose is deceptive. Her argument, however, was tainted by exaggeration, as is her husband’s tendency. “His false information is disgraceful, and he should never be believed as a professional historian,” she said in a tweet.

It’s difficult to reject a guy who has written nine history books, none of which have been refuted.

He shouldn’t have taken a picture of the garden before it bloomed to criticize it, however.

Insanity in the movies

But wait, there’s more. Something else Beschloss said about Melania in the past may be driving her rage as well. He compared her to “a deranged Joan Crawford (as portrayed by Faye Dunaway) trashing her rose garden in the 1981 film “Mommie Dearest,” according to the Mercury News. That’s not very historian-like.

And it doesn’t help Melania’s mood that an internet petition with 80,000 signatures has been circulated, urging current First Lady Jilly Biden to restore the Rose Garden to its Jackie Kennedy-designed state.

But here’s the thing: in all of the coverage in the Mercury Press, Huffington Post, New York Post, and Yahoo News, there was not a single mention of the sculpture Melania also placed in the garden – a conspicuous absence in news coverage.

So, please bear with me.

Honoring the deceased

Isamu Noguchi’s artwork, Floor Frame, is a bronze abstract with sharp angles that doesn’t suit well in a flower garden. It seems to be excessively industrial, as if it were building site debris.

Melania had her reasons for selecting the sculpture, for example, its modest height. It’s “modest in size (that) compliments the authority of the Oval Office,” she said. Perhaps complements isn’t the right term. The low-lying bronze may also be seen as a submission to the Oval Office’s power.

Melania’s interpretation of Floor Frame is nothing like what Noguchi had in mind. The sculptor was cited in Art News magazine describing what he was thinking when he made the piece, particularly the “essentiality of a floor.” His work, therefore, should be placed on a solid surface rather than a moving bed of soil.

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Melania Trump’s White House renovation plans have been the subject of much controversy. The first lady’s office allegedly removed a beloved, modern sculpture from the White House Rose Garden to make room for a fence. Now the conservative group Citizens for the Rule of Law is up in arms about the “travesty” and has sent a letter to the U.S. Architect of the Capitol expressing their concerns over the renovations.. Read more about zuber wallpaper white house and let us know what you think.

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