Cathleen McGuigan

Stories by Cathleen McGuigan

  • A Shock Grows In Brooklyn

    Arnold Lehman, director of the Brooklyn Museum, was recalling his last meeting with New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. It took place in July at City Hall, where the two bantered about baseball--Giuliani's a well-known Yankees fan, while Lehman has never stopped cheering the Dodgers--and discussed capital improvements for the city-owned museum building. "It was a wonderful meeting," said Lehman wistfully. "The mayor asked great questions. He was funny."But the two men haven't been laughing--or even talking--since the mayor blew up three weeks ago over the controversial exhibition, "Sensation: Young British Artists From the Saatchi Collection." Giuliani threatened to cut all city funding to the museum--$7 million a year, about one third of its operating budget--unless the show was canceled. The mayor was especially outraged by "The Holy Virgin Mary," a painting by Chris Ofili, who used, among other materials, elephant dung. "This is sick stuff," Giuliani said.Lehman had been hoping...
  • This Time, A ‘Backlash’ For Guys

    A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Susan Faludi emerged as a cultural troublemaker in 1991 with "Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women," which set off a political firestorm by documenting what she called men's subtle and not-so-subtle resistance to feminist progress. "Stiffed" promises to stir similarly hot emotions. For six years she reported from the front lines of male anxiety: the Tailhook scandal, the Citadel, the porn industry, the sports world and the hot spots of corporate downsizing. After The New Yorker magazine published her brutal chapter on the Citadel military academy, Faludi says, she received a letter from a cadet's girlfriend. "It began, 'Dear f---ing bitch,' and ended with a happy face... I also got letters from men who had been cadets who wrote to say, 'Yes, this is really how it is'." Now age 40, she recently became a contributing editor at NEWSWEEK. She spoke with NEWSWEEK's Cathleen McGuigan.McGuigan: Why a book on men?Faludi: The idea emerged...
  • The 'Talk' Of The Town

    In media circles, when people say "Tina," they never mean Turner, Marie or Louise. For a year now, everyone's been talking about Tina Brown and her new magazine--which is titled Talk but might as well be called "Tina." Ever since she left The New Yorker to take up Harvey Weinstein's offer to start her own magazine, there's been talk about the deal: the new monthly is part of Weinstein's Miramax movie company, which in turn is owned by Disney. (Hearst came in later as a partner and will print and distribute the magazine.) There's been talk about synergy: that the magazine would be a spawning ground for Talk Books and Miramax movies. And there's been a looming question: how would such a magazine, devoted to both serious journalism and celebrity fluff, fly in a crowded market?This week, the first issue of Talk will be launched, with fireworks from the Statue of Liberty, no less. The rumor that Hillary Clinton would be the first cover girl turns out to be true, but she shares the honor...
  • Burning Down The House

    When Dorothy, desperate to get back to Kansas, clicked her heels three times and said, "There's no place like home," she was striking a powerful chord. At the heart of the American dream is home sweet home--the private sanctuary of the family, the fortress against the outside world. Though the 20th century has seen houses mushroom in size (the average new house now sprawls over 2,300 square feet, up from 1,700 square feet in 1970), the basic scheme remains the same: living room, formal dining room (nowadays rarely dined in), kitchen (bigger than ever, though fewer people cook) and three or four bedrooms tucked away. Are houses still going to be built like this a hundred years from now?No way, according to a provocative new show at The Museum of Modern Art in New York called "The Un-Private House." Not that any of the 26 avant-garde designs at MoMA--some built, some not--are likely to become a suburban developer's blueprint. What's significant, says curator Terence Riley, is that...
  • Second Helping

    Don't expect to see Thomas Harris on "Oprah." Or grilled on his taste for the grisly by Katie Couric at breakfast time. On June 8, when "Hannibal," the sequel to "The Silence of the Lambs," hits the nation's bookstores, its author will be as invisible as he can get. Harris has become one of the most famous resisters of fame. He won't give interviews, he won't do bookstore signings. "When I asked him why he wanted to avoid the press, he said that all he has to say is through his books," explained Carole Baron, who until last week was editor in chief of Harris's publisher, Delacorte. But there's one way to hear Harris firsthand: buy the audiobook. There you'll hear his gentle, Mississippi-bred voice reading his own crisp prose--and some of the most gruesome plot points in popular fiction. ...
  • You Look Marvelous, Baby!

    There's practically no piece of furniture you could own today that's as cool as an original Eames chair--say, the wooden lounge chair, made of two molded-plywood "potato chips," linked by a curvy spine. Vintage specimens, which cost as much as $3,000, turn up as the perfect accessory in fashionably minimalist interiors. But Charles and Ray Eames, who designed the chair in 1946, would probably be appalled to see it turned into an object of fetishism. They were modernists in ideology as well as in style and believed in mass production, "the simple thing of getting the most of the best to the greatest number of people for the least," said Charles. And though they were hugely influential in bringing a spare look to corporate offices and public spaces like airports, they didn't believe in living a pared-down life themselves. Their famous modern house in Pacific Palisades, Calif.--a steel and glass box--was chockablock with handicrafts and trinkets, bright rugs and cushions.The first...
  • Whose Life Is It Anyway?

    Say you're a very famous writer and also a very famous recluse. You refuse to publish your stories anymore, and you live way up in New Hampshire in a lonely house and it's very tough to meet--well, girls. What do you do? You write letters, sometimes to strangers. You become pen pals. In 1972 J. D. Salinger, then 53, wrote a fan's note to a Yale freshman, Joyce Maynard, after she published a precocious article in The New York Times called "An 18-Year-Old Looks Back on Life." He praised her writing--and begged her to guard his privacy. Now, 27 years later, "Miss Maynard," as he addressed her, is putting that letter and 13 others up for public auction next month at Sotheby's in New York. The letters detail a courtship that culminated in Maynard's dropping out of college to share Salinger's hermitic life for 10 months, until he kicked her out. So rare are Salinger letters--and so notorious is their romance--that Sotheby's estimates they will sell (as a group) for $60,000 to $80,000.To...
  • Vision Of The Capital

    In the summer of 1961, director Billy Wilder went to Berlin to make his famous cold-war comedy, "One, Two, Three." While he was filming the high-speed romp, with its scenes of James Cagney's limo careering down the boulevards and through the Brandenburg Gate to East Berlin, the wall went up. Wilder had to leave Splitsville, as he called it, for a sound stage in Munich, where he faked pieces of Berlin's cityscape. Still, the movie, with its footage of both real places and re-created sets, captured the disjointed energy of the postwar, pre-wall city, with its sleek new buildings and its tattered old grandeur, its modern aspirations and its scars of horrific conflict.Now, 10 years after the wall came down, you can once again drive through the Brandenburg Gate. And Berlin is still buzzing with disjointed energy--no longer because it's the weirdly bifurcated locus of international tension but because it's a city in the throes of a world-class identity crisis. Nowhere is this more obvious...
  • A Place In The Sun

    IF YOU'VE DRIVEN UP THE 405 through the Sepulveda pass in Los Angeles in recent years, you've seen the Getty Center taking shape. High on a hill above the whizzing traffic, battalions of giant cranes were silhouetted against the brilliant California sky. The six buildings in the complex gradually materialized. Bulldozers moved tons of dirt; a tram rail was laid to bring visitors from the 1,200-car garage at the foot of the hill to the complex at the top; 4,000 live oaks were planted to dress up the slope. Now, nearly $1 billion later, the Getty is finally ready for its opening this December. With a major museum and various allied facilities, it's the costliest art institution ever built in America. The Getty is bound to give a huge boost to L.A.'s cultural aspirations; already it has become a key symbol for a city bouncing back from riots, an earthquake, fires, mudslides and O.J.A project this vast and this visible prompts some grousing, too. Locals wonder if the Getty will be an...
  • Basque-Ing In Glory

    FRANK GEHRY IS SITTING IN front of a funky riverside hangout called the Cafe Mississippi in Bilbao, Spain, philosophizing about art museums. The architect is railing against the dumb white modern boxes that house so much contemporary art today. Artists, he argues, want to be in great buildings; they want to be in the Louvre, for Pete's sake. "The trick is to make galleries where the art looks good," he says, balancing a cup of espresso, "which is to say, not on a pedestal." Or, as he once put it, to design a landmark building, but one that doesn't detract from the art, "that doesn't use up all the oxygen." Gehry, 67, gets up and leans on a rail along the river's edge. There, beached on the opposite bank, is his example of how to do this, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. It's an extraordinary sight: a vast, exuberant mElange of angles and curves, shimmering in silvery titanium, glass and pale limestone, a fantastic vessel somehow run aground in this sober industrial city.The museum, not...
  • Portrait Of The Artist

    IF JULIAN SCHNABEL HADN'T MADE Basquiat, someone else would have had to do it. All the ingredients for a classic doomed-by-overnight-success movie can be found in the trajectory of Jean Michel Basquiat's short, sad life. A kid who'd lived in a cardboard box on the fringe of SoHo in New York, he became one of the biggest art stars of the '80s, but was dead of a heroin overdose at 27. After he died, the value of his paintings reached as high as $500,000 at auction; in 1992 the Whitney Museum mounted a retrospective. But whether his paintings are the work of a genius is still a controversial subject among critics. ...
  • Stone, Steel And Cyberspace

    DlGlTAL TECHNOLOGY IS POISED TO have a huge impact on the way architects practice--and ultimately, it could put many of them put of business. After all, argues William Mitchell, dean of architecture at MIT, the more time we spend in cyberspace, the less need we'll have for nice real space. In the meantime, computers have become as ubiquitous as T squares in architects' offices, though CAD--computer-aided design--is used mainly as a high-speed drafting tool. What computers haven't yet done is change the way most architects create. ...
  • Gehry With A French Twist

    AMERICA MAY HAVE GIVEN FRANCE Mickey Rourke, but cultural relations between the two countries are still pretty strained. The French are freaked out about the pollution of pop culture from the United States. First there was the GATT flap over Hollywood movies (60 percent of the French box office). Now a new law will make it a crime to use a foreign expression -- e.g., le cash flow -- in advertising if there's a French equiva-lent, and quotas will be imposed on foreign-language music on French TV and radio. But maybe France will see the new American Center in Paris, opening this week, as a cultural olive branch. After all, Frank Gehry, perhaps our best architect, has made a building as wild as a Jerry Lewis comedy and as sophisticated as jazz. ...
  • A SENSE OF PLACE

    When Frank Lloyd Wright dreamed up Broadacre City-his utopian idea for semirural metropolises--he declared the architecture of each should grow out of the character of its region. America had once looked that logical, but 20th-century mass culture changed all that. We have Cape Cod cottages in Kansas, Mediterranean villas in Michigan, and glass-and-steel boxes everywhere. But looking around in the '90s, the most provocative emerging architects are drawing inspiration from their immediate surroundings. They hate being tagged "regionalists"-it sounds provincial and too cute, when there's nothing imitative about their work. They're originals who pay attention to land and climate; they use local materials, juxtaposed in a rich way; they're tuned in to the quirks of local culture. Here are three of the best. ...
  • He Built A Space Of Terrible Beauty

    Architect James Ingo Freed, a Jewish refugee, was 9 years old when he escaped from Germany with his 4-year-old sister in 1939. His parents fled three years later, and though most of his mother's family who stayed behind died, he grew up learning little about the Holocaust. When he first began working on a design for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, he was stymied. He read extensively about Hitler's extermination of the Jews, but in three months came up empty. "I couldn't get it," he says. Finally, in 1986, he packed his bags and went to the camps -Auschwitz, Birkenau, Dachau, Treblinka and others. ...
  • The Future, Italian Style

    Renzo Piano is a tough architect to pigeonhole-which is why he's so right for the end of the millennium. He takes a thoughtful, idiosyncratic approach to all kinds of projects, then expresses the beauty of technology through craftsmanship-crisp metal trusses, elegant joints or handsome panels of brick. His firm, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, based in Genoa, Italy, designs everything from cities to nuts. Piano's current projects range from the giant $2 billion Kansai airport in Japan to the Potsdamer Platz in the heart of Berlin, to a small arts center on the Pacific island of New Caledonia. His architecture isn't well known in the United States (he's built just one project here, the Menil Collection in Houston), but now an exhibition of his work has opened at The Architectural League in New York (through Jan. 30, traveling to the Menil Collection, March 11-30). ...
  • Remembering The Witch Hunt's Victims

    Cemeteries are irresistibly spooky places. The one on Charter Street in Salem Mass., is a classic-small and moody, some of its weather-beaten headstones dating back to the 17th century. But don't expect to come upon the ghosts of witches here. The 20 people executed for witchcraft in the summer of 1692 didn't have a Christian burial; most of their bodies were pitched into an unmarked mass grave. So as part of the Tercentenary commemoration, the city of Salem decided to build a memorial to them. The competition to design it was flooded with 246 proposals, from as far away as Czechoslovakia. Earlier this month, the winning project, by architect James Cutler and artist Maggie Smith, of Bainbridge Island, Wash., was dedicated. Cutler-known for Pacific Northwest houses that are sensitive to the environment-has been designing with architect Peter Bohlin a gargantuan, multimillion-dollar residence near Seattle for Microsoft wunderkind Bill Gates. For Cutler, the Salem memorial was a modest...
  • Do The Wright Thing

    Five months after Hiroshima, Frank Lloyd Wright was explaining his concept for the yet-to-be-built Guggenheim Museum to some reporters. The building was to be a spiral, coiled " like a spring," the ramp one continuous ribbon from top to bottom. " When the first atomic bomb lands on New York," he said, "it will not be destroyed. It may be blown a few miles up into the air, but when it comes down it will bounce!" ...
  • How To Succeed In The Art Biz

    Running a museum used to be the ultimate gentleman's profession; it took taste, polish and a passion for connoisseurship. Then things got grubby: museum directors started worrying more about balance sheets than provenances and spent more time wooing money out of politicians than heirlooms out of dowagers. But that era didn't completely vanish until last week, when the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., named a successor to J. Carter Brown, the New England blue blood who'd been director for nearly 23 years. ...
  • Apres Mickey, Le Deluge

    When Mickey squeaked, Aldo Rossi lost his cool. The prizewinning architect was designing a hotel for the new Disney theme park opening next Sunday 20 miles east of Paris, when Robert Fitzpatrick, the urbane president of Euro Disney, made some criticisms. As Fitzpatrick tells it, a fuming Rossi wrote him a letter in which he told the story of the King of France who commissioned Bernini to build a palace. When the king's chamberlains asked for modifications, Bernini balked: build it the way I designed it, he said, or I quit. He quit. "I realize that I am not Bernini, " Rossi wrote. "But you are not the King of France. I quit. " ...
  • Catalunya, Here I Come

    A funny thing happened to Robert Hughes on the way to writing a book about Barcelona's modernista movement--the Catalan art nouveau architecture of Antoni Gaudi and his peers. Hughes got so deeply caught up in the roots of the city's history that he dug back nearly 2,000 years. The result is Barcelona (575 pages. Knopf $27.50), an epic about Spain's least Spanish city, with its own language--Catalan--and its own unique culture. Even in the hands of such an elegant and trenchant writer, the undergrowth of dense detail may nearly defeat many general readers. But a long historic look was probably inevitable: the periods of greatest cultural flourishing in Barcelona's history are also the moments of the greatest struggle for Catalan identity and autonomy. Barcelona is not the Spain of the flamenco and the bullring: the Catalonians were hardheaded, hardworking farmers, merchants, craftsmen and manufacturers, often conservative and deeply Roman Catholic. Hughes traces the history of...
  • Arne's Double Life

    Speaking of letting down your hair, wasn't that the button-down art dealer Arne Glimeher mamboing his heart out at New York's tatty Roseland the other night? At the premiere party for "The Mambo Kings," first-time film director Glimeher, along with stars Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas, boogied on-stage in a fevered rendition of the classic "Guantanamera. " It was only a few blocks from the pristinely elegant Pace Gallery, where Glimcher represents such blue-chip artists as Richard Serra and Julian Schnabel, as well as the estates of Mark Rothko and Jean Dubuffet, but it might as well have been the other side of the moon. This is the double life of Arne Glimcher. ...
  • The Arts' Political Scapegoat

    When John Frohnmayer, the embattled chairman of the National En dowment for the Arts, summoned his staff last Friday to tell them he was leaving, he did it in a very artistic way. The lanky Oregon lawyer, a baritone who once considered a singing career, launched into the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts": ...
  • All Those Old Familiar Places

    First try to imagine Melanie Griffith as a World War II spy who goes underground as a nanny in Berlin to find out about a secret German bomb with wings. Then picture Michael Douglas passing himself off as an SS officer even though he can't speak enough German to say Gesundheit. Shining Through, based on the Susan Isaacs novel, is implausible, silly and predictable. It's also pretty entertaining, if sometimes unintentionally. Griffith is the feisty Linda Voss, a half-German Jewish working girl from Queens who lands a job as secretary to upper-crust lawyer Ed Leland (Douglas); he's secretly working for the War Department. The two get cozy. They're listening to a symphony on the radio when Pearl Harbor is hit. "For me, there would be no more symphonies with Ed-just the sound of drums," says the breathless Linda on the voice-over. Faster than you can say Ich bin ein Berliner, Linda, who's learned everything she knows about espionage from movies, is on her way to spy in Nazi Germany.
  • The Barcelona Way

    When the great Japanese archi tect Arata Isozaki went to the opening of his Jordi sports palace on Montjuic in Barcelona, IN he was stunned by the turnout: 300,000 people--almost one fifth of the city--came to see what he'd done. Yes, he'd designed an amazing structure-a sports arena that wasn't a brute hunk of concrete but a huge, graceful mushroom of a building, with a soft, undulating roofline. The locals named it "the clever building" for the 100 blisterlike skylights that flood the place with daylight. "I never had such a strong response," says Isozaki. A slender, striking figure who dresses all in black, he spent three days at events celebrating the new $83 million arena, the architectural centerpiece for the '92 Summer Olympics. "Until then, my face was not known," he recalls shyly. "Afterward, everywhere I went, on the street, in a bar, in a restaurant, everyone recognized me. The general citizen is very fascinated and wants to talk about architecture." ...
  • They're Spookier And They're Ookier

    "The Addams Family" sounded like it might be one more movie to tap into boomer humor--Hollywood cashing in on our nostalgia for all the bad TV we watched in the '60s. What next--a movie version of "Petticoat Junction"? But fortunately, this film goes back to the original source: Charles Addams's deeply bizarre cartoons for The New Yorker. The opening sequence is a direct steal from one of Addams's most famous drawings, and it puts us in the proper holiday spirit: Morticia, Gomez and Lurch atop the tower of their spooky Gothic mansion, about to pour a steaming caldron on the heads of a sweet circle of Christmas carolers. Actually, every day is a holiday in the Addams house, only the holiday is Halloween. ...
  • How To Talk To A Brick

    The people at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles got the idea for the retrospective "Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture" 10 years ago, but it didn't open until this month, in Kahn's hometown, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Thank goodness it took so long to put together--Louis Kahn might have bombed in the '80s. The late architect never built a skyscraper (though he designed at least two of them). He never used mirrored glass or put roofs that looked like hats on his buildings. What's more, he was a philosopher: he spoke about architecture in near-mystical terms. He even talked to bricks. ...
  • How Yesterday Saw Tomorrow

    The roaring '20s didn't last longer than any other decade, but after the exhibition "The 1920s: Age of the Metropolis," you'd swear it was an eternity. This vastly ambitious show at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a huge, clanking machine: 700-odd paintings, prints, photographs, posters, architectural models, drawings, chairs, teapots, cigarette cases, a Bugatti automobile and a De Havilland 60X Moth airplane fill up the entire museum, evoking the jazz age in three prime capitals--Berlin, Paris, and New York. The images and objects in this immovable feast (the show closes on Nov. 10) make a rich but mostly stew. From whorehouse to Bauhaus, the show touches on decadence and utopianism, dada and constructivism, art deco and De Stijl, communism and cafe life. It is an age in which nothing was quite what it seemed: a side table looks like a high-rise, a cocktail shaker like a dirigible, a woman like a man. ...
  • The Thinking Man Of Design

    Architecture, unlike, say, tennis, is a profession for late bloomers. Even so, the career of Robert Venturi, 66, seems an incredible case of delayed gratification. It's been 25 years since his startling attack on the austerity of modern design, "Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture," made him famous and jump-started the postmodern boom. In the book, he shot back at Mies van der Rohe's dictum, "Less is more" and said, "Less is a bore." Let's have "messy vitality," he argued, let's have ambiguity and a nod to architecture of the past. Those ideas influenced architects from Robert A. M. Stern, with his classical columns, to Frank Gehry with his street-smart materials. Everybody agreed Venturi was a brilliant thinker, but no one asked him to build skyscrapers or huge civic monuments. What his firm, Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, did build didn't have an unmistakable "Venturi look": the beach houses were send-ups of fisherman's shacks; the campus buildings were brick...
  • A Maverick Master

    People used to pigeonhole Frank Gehry as a regionalist architect. That meant he was a flaky southern Californian whose far-out buildings looked like the scene of an earthquake the morning after. The first and most famous of these was his 1978 renovation of his own house on a quiet street in Santa Monica. He took a humdrum little pink-shingled Dutch colonial and wrapped it in corrugated metal, with big pieces of chain-link fencing and glass pushing up out of the structure. Inside, he ripped out walls, leaving a forest of bare studs, and the ghost of the original: an old bay window in the living room overlooked the new kitchen. "I had only myself and my family to please," Gehry recalls. ...
  • The Scoop On Kitty Kelley

    We were afraid we were going to have to do an unauthorized Kitty Kelley profile. We were very disappointed. We had wanted to get up close and personal with the plucky biographer who'd come up with such now notorious tidbits about her subjects' lives: that Jackie Onassis had shock therapy;that Liz Taylor aborted a love child by Frank Sinatra;that Sinatra once ate ham and eggs off the chest of a call girl. And now we had the deep dish on Nancy Reagan, including the allegation that (busy Ole Blue Eyes) the former First Lady had a tryst with Frank, too. So we wanted to see for ourselves the irresistible combo of charm and chutzpah that makes all her sources--old school chums, distant cousins, former White House staffers--spill the beans. We wanted to understand how "a real pushy-pants," as she once described herself, could even paw through someone's garbage in search of a hot clue. But last Thursday, Kelley's publisher, Simon & Schuster, abruptly canceled her promotional tour and...