Category Archives: Kimmelman, Michael

The tedious New York Times

Pedantic layout

Pedantic layout: Dalrymple likens the front page of the Times to a particularly verbose Victorian tombstone

One does not, writes Dalrymple, look to the New York Times

for elegance of writing, perhaps not even for mere accuracy, though its layout looks as if it was designed by a professor of Aramaic philology at the University of Göttingen in about 1880. Pedantic layout, loose (though dull) writing: that more or less summarises the Times.

Loose Times writer: Jayson Blair

Loose and dull Times writer: Jayson Blair

Dull Times writer: Michael Kimmelman

Loose, dull and pusillanimous Times writer: Michael Kimmelman

Loose, dull and drug-addled Times writer: David Carr

Loose, dull, pusillanimous and drug-addled Times writer: David Carr

Kimmelman makes Buridan’s ass seem positively decisive

Silly ass: Michael Kimmelman

Silly ass: Michael Kimmelman cannot, or more likely dare not, decide

How fear of appearing reactionary can lead to absurd extremes of critical pusillanimity

Dalrymple comes across an article by Michael Kimmelman, architecture correspondent of the New York Times, about the new Whitney Museum. Dalrymple writes:

At no point did Kimmelman offer a clear indication of whether he considered the building good or bad, beautiful or ugly. Instead, he used locutions such as the following, compatible with any value judgment whatever:

It ratifies Chelsea.

The museum becomes . . . an outdoor perch to see and be seen.

Mr Piano’s galleries borrow from the old downtown loft aesthetic.

The new Whitney Museum: simultaneously a 'headache' and a 'signal contribution'

The new Whitney Museum: simultaneously a ‘headache’ and a ‘signal contribution’

They’re nonprescriptive places . . . that may prove to be the ticket.

They may end up a headache.

It is a deft, serious achievement, a signal contribution to downtown and the city’s changing cultural landscape.

The new museum isn’t a masterpiece.

It’s an eager neighbor.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 09.03.42It exudes a genteel eccentricity that plays off the rationalism of Mr Piano, and of Manhattan’s street grid.

Dalrymple’s comment:

I have seldom read a piece of criticism in which the fundamental question was avoided in so pusillanimous a fashion, and in which the writer so delicately refrained from passing aesthetic judgment.

Why does Kimmelman not pass any judgment whatever on the building? Dalrymple suggests that it is a matter of

fear of disagreement or appearing reactionary.

Popularity of public hangings

Populist hangout: Tyburn

Populist hangout: Tyburn

Kimmelman makes the Pompidou Centre sound like a new, unpleasant cancer therapy

Dalrymple reports that the architecture critic of the New York Times has described the Pompidou Centre’s ‘breakthrough‘, namely ‘not just the inside-out factory aesthetic but the development of a populist hangout’.

Kimmelman forgets, writes Dalrymple

that public executions were also ‘a populist [or is it popular?] hangout’ and probably would be still if carried out.

Kimmelman’s populist hangout

Something of a prat: Dalrymple writes that according to the architecture correspondent of the New York Times, someone called Michael Kimmelman, the 'breakthrough' of the Centre Georges Pompidou (1971-77, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini) was 'the development of a populist hangout'. Does Kimmelman mean that those who enunciate mass ideologies, the likes of Heinz-Christian Strache, Ron Paul, Pablo Iglesias, Alexis Tsipras, Nigel Farage, Tom Van Grieken, Marine Le Pen, Manfred Rouhs and Geert Wilders, enjoy 'hanging out' at the Pompidou Centre? No. Does Kimmelman mean that latter-day adherents of the inter-war French literary movement that focused on the concerns of ordinary people prefer to ‘hang out’ at the Pompidou Centre? No. Does Kimmelman pay any attention to what he is saying? No. Should we read Kimmelman or indeed the New York Times? No.

Prattish: the architecture critic of the New York Times, Michael Kimmelman, has written, Dalrymple reports, that the ‘breakthrough’ of the Centre Georges Pompidou (1971-77, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini) was ‘the development of a populist hangout’.