"The World is Watching" Our Nasher versus Museum Tower Fight. Hope It's Wearing Shades.

Categories: Schutze

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On today's Dallas Morning News opinion page, Maxwell L. Anderson, chairman of the Dallas Arts District Foundation, and Catherine Cuellar, executive director of the Dallas Arts District Foundation, writing about a controversy over reflected light from a new condo tower and its affect on the Nasher Sculpture Center next door, have this to say:

"The glare -- and the lack of action taken by the owners of Museum Tower to eliminate it -- is also damaging our city's reputation locally and internationally ... We cannot allow one single stakeholder to spoil the reputation of our entire neighborhood and detract from a flourishing urban center, all while the world is watching."

And that puts me in mind of what it would be like to be Dallas' parents.

"Mother. You really do not seriously expect me to leave the house with this glare shining right on top of my sculpture museum. You do know that the whole world is watching. Yes, it certainly is too watching. How do I know? You said it yourself when you gave me my first cable-stayed bridge. Remember? Well, maybe you shouldn't have given me that fancy bridge then, because now I have to live up to it.

veruca.jpg
Dallas, the Veruca Salt of cities.
"Mother, if you make me go out there looking like this, I'm going to binge on shrimp at your next party and throw up right in front of the guests. Daddy, will you talk to her? Tell her that French people will be watching, for God's sake. You know what French people are like.

"None of my friends have glare on their sculpture museums. Houston's parents never treat her like this. Austin told her mom she didn't have a decent dress to wear last weekend, and her mom let her stay home and smoke pot.

"Oh, I'm just going to cry. I'm sorry, Daddy, but I can't help it. Mother just enjoys making a fool of me in front of the whole world. I almost think she's jealous of me for being young and hot.

"You know what they're like, Paris and London and Moscow. They're bitches, just total bitches, all of them. They sit around just waiting for me to show myself looking all glary and cheap. It's what they expect, Daddy. Yes, it is.

"By the way, Father, I do seriously hope you're not going to go ahead with this thing about the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. You might as well just pack me off right now to the most expensive nuthouse in Switzerland if you're seriously going to do that to me. Oh, my God, why would you want to make your own daughter look like a vicious hillbilly in front of the whole wide world? Do you hate me? Why don't you have some of my teeth pulled so I can really look the part?

"I'm sorry, but I just can't stop crying. Do you not see how they stare at my glare? Do you even know what Facebook is? Do you have any idea what kind of comments they're posting about my glare? Boston is the worst, that ugly old slut.

"Please, Mommy. Please. Make the glare go away. I just cannot survive if you won't. I feel faint. I really am afraid I may just fall down at any moment. No, Daddy, there is no compromise on this. Nothing can save me now. Nothing. I truly fear I shall perish. Unless, of course ... well ... you do remember that my little red Beamer convertible is now almost 2 years old."

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49 comments
jll50
jll50

From my level of observation, the tower is beautiful. The glare upon the surrounding area especially upon the park will aid me in developing a beautiful summer tan. Now as for as the Nasher, I will never see over that wall into that garden..........it's too expensive for me to gain admittance. Move the Nasher and keep the tower. I need the tan, and Dallas needs one less snob!

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Soon to be an "Arrested Development" episode

GrouchoMarx
GrouchoMarx

Schutze nailed it.  The Nasher, Anderson & Cuellar are embarrassing themselves and Dallas.

Brian Harris
Brian Harris

Oh Jim, you have slayed me once again. Excellent piece.

LDR4
LDR4

To be fair, Michael Kimmelman, the New York Times' architecture critic, has been critical of Museum Tower, an article by Wil S. Hylton in the New York Times Magazine about James Turrell mentioned that the tower forced the Nasher to close Turrell's Skypace, and the Global Cultural Districts Network is based in Dallas and Anderson is the co-char. So, yes. The world is watching.

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

It's sort of disturbing that Anderson and Cuellar employ the same tactic that teens employ:  you're embarrassing me in front of everybody!  

Teens obsess over what everyone else thinks about them because they are not fully grown, mature adults.  

I guess someone needs to sit Anderson and Cuellar down and gently explain to them that Rome, Paris, New York and even Hong Kong are not actually paying any attention to Dallas or the glare on the Nasher.  

The JFK thing is another story.  Dallas will be seen as exploiting a death for attention.  Ugh.

TotallyEmbarressed
TotallyEmbarressed

In case you guys didn't figure it out, this is not about a glare. We got plenty of buildings with glare that shine on other buildings and no one else seems to be crying like a baby.  The Arts District, Bishop Arts, Henderson, Uptown is about real estate.  The pension fund was forced to finance the deal and someone wants to buy the building at a loss. Since D Magazine keeps beating this horse, does it make since, D Mags owner Harlan Crow and Crow Holdings are somehow involved for financial reasons, in keeping this in the news, with the help of stooges in the Arts District, like Crow Collection and other Arts District employees.  


Or is it just easier to come up with excuses, rather than admit you don't know how to do the job of promoting the Arts District? The district includes art entities, commercial real estate, apartments, condos, restaurants, businesses, and other amenities.

Either do your fucking jobs, stop using local artists, who are not aware of what is really going on, and leave the real estate squabble to the parties involved. Or quit. As an artist and tax payer, this is not my idea of leadership.

Tom434
Tom434

Would one side or the other just move this thing to the Courthouse where it belongs

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Just think how little Dallas is going to feel when London and Paris find out about her cheap Observer undergarments.

craig.adam.jacobson
craig.adam.jacobson

Dallas' Mother, head over to the Oculi Solution (it's not at North Park) and buy your sweet little Nasher some corrective lenses. Everyone is tired of hearing the rich kid cry.... Heck, I think that the new kid, Museum Tower, will even pay for them. Isn't that nice of him? I think so. 

Then, they can head over to the sandbox at the deck park and play nice.... 

http://www.oculisolution.com/

animas
animas

Hilarious.  If I were Dallas, I would forget any other issue and get  Austin's mom to adopt me.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

You are the Arts District.  You don't have a reputation.  You would have to actually accomplish something first.  Pull up your pants, shave off that ridiculous mustache, and get to goddamned work.

(And this is coming from someone who for the last nine months or so has had a ridiculous handlebar mustache.)

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@LDR4 Oh my god "New York Times' architecture critic" has poo poo'd the Museum Tower.  What next, a scathing denouncement of Klyde Warren Park

Guesty
Guesty

@LDR4 Most of the world is blissfully unaware of the Nasher, Museum Tower, Michael Kimmelman, Wil S. Hylton, James Turrell, and the Global Cultural Districs Network.  Sure, some cultural muckety-mucks might have some interest, but is there any good reason people should care what they think?  After all, these are people who have their heads so far up their own asses that they think "the world" means the .0001% of people like them without any regard for the remaining 99.9999%.  

James080
James080 topcommenter

@TotallyEmbarressed  

The pension fund was FORCED to finance the project?  This is new information.

Who forced the trustees to finance the project, and what type of force was applied?

I always thought the pension fund financed the deal because the banks who looked at the project considered it too risky. In fact, the pension fund owns several speculative high-end real estate deals that aren't performing, doesn't it?

Guesty
Guesty

@Tom434 The law can't resolve all disputes, and I doubt it has much of a place to resolve this one.  

The museum knows it probably can't win a lawsuit--I have not seen any case holding that a building owner is responsible if his building reflects too much sunlight.  The answer for this kind of problem is in zoning and permitting, which as far as I know isn't an issue here.    

But Museum Tower doesn't sue because it can't win a lawsuit based on the Nasher's complaining--the Nasher has every right to complain, even if that drives the tower into bankruptcy.  

So this is what you get--public relations bombs being tossed by the Nasher and half-hearted effort from Museum Tower to appear like it is trying to be reasonable with its neighbor.  Eventually one might break down and see if it can break the impasse at the courthouse, but that would most likely be aimed at forcing a settlement rather than "winning" a lawsuit.       

TotallyEmbarressed
TotallyEmbarressed

@Tom434 Or maybe we should take the running of the Arts District out of the hands of non-profits, with agendas, and put it in the hands of the City and taxpayers.

lisareneemerito
lisareneemerito

@craig.adam.jacobson The Nasher didn't create this problem.  The tower needs to fix itself not destroy the charm of the buildings that came before it that are actually architecturally pleasing.  The tower is so ugly, putting a coating on it won't change anything.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@animas 

I'll bet Austin's mom is the hot , MILF-y mom.

bmarvel
bmarvel

@Guesty @Tom434 There is ample law for this kind of problem. The problem, broadly speaking, is putting up a structure that adversely affects your neighbor's property and its value. It needn't be light. It can be drainage, noise, odors, even scenic view. 

This dispute belongs in the courts. I'm not sure the Nasher will win a clear victory; the circumstances are complicated by the museum's failure to take action in a more timely manner -- say, when it first learned of the true extent of the tower's redesign.

But I think any competent lawyer can take the museum's case and force the tower to a useful and just settlement -- and not the faux compromise the tower people have already offered.

Of course you'd never know any of his just by reading Jim. He's having too much fun sticking it to the arts crowd to get into this kind of stuff. 

dsmithy3211
dsmithy3211

@Guesty @Tom434 If reflecting too much sunlight is analogous to installing bright lights, the Texas Supreme Court might disagree with you.

"There is no question that foul odors, dust, noise, and bright lights—if sufficiently extreme—may constitute a nuisance." Schneider Nat'l Carriers, Inc. v. Bates, 147 S.W.3d 264 , 269 (Tex. 2004).

craig.adam.jacobson
craig.adam.jacobson

@lisareneemerito Lisa, I disagree with you on the points that you have made. The simplest and  the best solution to the problem (difficult for some to understand) is to redirect the oculi. Read the in-depth research by RWDI. Also, this proposed correction  won’t destroy the “charm of the buildings that came before it"; it is an inconspicuous modification to the sunscreen. For what it is worth, when you are standing in the Nasher's galleries (after the oculi are redirected), you won't be able to see the building so many of you despise. Think of it as if the Nasher turns it's head away from the MT.

James_the_P3
James_the_P3

@lisareneemerito @craig.adam.jacobson Since when is that a legitimate basis for anything?  I encounter a myriad of problems every day that I didn't create.  Does that absolve me of any responsibility for finding a solution to them?

craig.adam.jacobson
craig.adam.jacobson

@James080  No, I am not employed by the firm(s) involved in this issue, but I am employed by a local architecture firm.

James_the_P3
James_the_P3

@TheCredibleHulk No.  Austin's mom is the one that is mildly overweight despite (or perhaps because of) her vegan diet, wears nothing but ill-fitting clothes made of hemp, and refuses to wear shoes any less comfortable than a pair of crocs.  


Fort Worth's mom is the hot MILF-y one who regularly wears cowboy boots with her waaaay too-short denim skirt.

dsmithy3211
dsmithy3211

@kduble @bmarvel @Guesty @Tom434 I'm not sure it's a likely judicial remedy. No court is going to want to deal with such a solution, especially for the parties to reappear in court months later claiming the solution was incorrectly installed or what have you.

kduble
kduble

@bmarvel @Guesty @Tom434  A likely judicial remedy would involve forcing Museum Tower to fund the best solution considered workable. Of course, they're offering to do this without court involvement.

dsmithy3211
dsmithy3211

@Guesty Hey,  I never said it was a good argument. It's just a not entirely frivolous argument.

Legitimately curious: is the "other buildings in Dallas are creating an bigger nuisance of the same type" an actual defense to nuisance?

I'm not sure if Nasher's decision not to sue (yet) is based entirely on the merits of the case. There is a lot more at stake here (politically and public relations-related). Even if Nasher had a perfectly meritorious case (which clearly it doesn't), Nasher might feel it can get greater concessions from MT if they wage a public relations battle instead of a legal battle.


Guesty
Guesty

@dsmithy3211 @Guesty @Tom434 Yes, installing artificial light that is too bright can be a nuisance.  But reflecting natural light hasn't ever been found to be a nuisance that I'm aware of, and it would be a very significant development in nuisance law if it did.  Every building reflects some natural light, and it isn't even clear to me that Museum Tower reflects more than several others in the area.  Several buildings in Dallas are mirrored glass (e.g. Fountain Place).  

The only reason this is a big deal is because the Nasher has art that needs to be protected from the sun (devising a special roof to do so) and maintains an art garden.  But the Nasher doesn't get more protection just because it has special needs: A court will have to treat the situation the same as it would if Museum Tower were next door to any other office building.  

If the Nasher felt otherwise, I am confident they would have already sued.   

TotallyEmbarrassed
TotallyEmbarrassed

@casiepierce  Point taken, however, it's better than this alternative bunch of social climbing ED's, who obviously don't really understand the scope of their mission. Since Cuellar is claiming that the Tower is the only thing people are talking about, she obviously has the inability to lead a new conversation. The nobility of loneliness, in leadership, either comes naturally and you accept the fate, or it doesn't. How disappointing for the more than 100 art groups established in the Arts District, that she chose to flock to the hen house, instead of the eagles nest.

observist
observist topcommenter

@Daniel @TheCredibleHulk @JimSX @RTGolden1  I get it - we're a Highland Park socialite!

craig.adam.jacobson
craig.adam.jacobson

@James080

James, you are missing my point. First, that was a lighthearted comment about how immature this fight has become. Second, Piano’s oculi design is simply genius, it is an engineering marvel. That does not mean that it can't ever be modified to help protect the art that it was built to protect. Piano chose function follows form. I fundamentally believe in the opposite, form follows function. Louis Kahn’s Kimbell follows this belief as well. The cycloid arched ceilings with light reflectors allowed natural light in while protecting the art. The oculi design doesn’t have a protective feature in its design. Redirecting the opening of the oculi away from MT is the best thing for the museum’s art and the patron’s experience. Third, you mean to tell me that others object to having others dictate modifications to their work product. What do you call architectural critics like Michael Kimmelman then?

James080
James080 topcommenter

@craig.adam.jacobson @James080  

Are you really less protective of your own design work? Architects I've worked with on some of the most iconic structures in Dallas would object to having others dictate modifications to their work product, particularly to mitigate negative effects the others caused. The Nasher Museum structure is as much a work of art as the sculpture it houses.

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