April 19, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Eisenhower Memorial Complaints Reach Fever Pitch

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Darrell Issa says he will withhold his support for the Eisenhower Memorial design should the commission go ahead with its July 12 meeting with the National Capital Planning Commission.

“If the Administration cannot provide complete answers and produce responsive documents as requested, the Committee may need to consider the use of compulsory process to obtain this information,” Issa wrote to acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini.

Roll Call reported earlier this month that Issa was perhaps in the early stages of launching a formal investigation into this matter.

Members of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission — among them eight Members of Congress ­— had hoped that Gehry’s revisions to his original design would assuage concerns and bring a drawn-out process to a conclusion by the end of this year.

“Time is of the essence,” Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), a World War II veteran, said at a public hearing on May 15 when the revised design was unveiled. “There is a national interest in making sure this monument is completed to remind the next generation of Americans what America has gone through and the great leaders we’ve had.”

Since the Eisenhower family originally objected to the former president being depicted as a sculpture of a young boy looking out onto a tableau of his future accomplishments, Gehry changed the statue to be that of Eisenhower as a young man.

And bas-reliefs, which had also been criticized, were made three-dimensional statues: One depicts Eisenhower speaking with 101st Airborne division soldiers at Normandy. Another is of the former president as depicted in the photo “The Elder Statesman,” taken in 1966 by Yousuf Karsh.

The family and others, however, remain concerned about the stability of the metal tapestries that depict Eisenhower’s boyhood in Abilene, Kan.

Despite the appearance of new obstacles, Eisenhower Memorial Commission spokeswoman Chris Cimko told Roll Call that the organization is unfazed.

“We are happy to have heard from the Eisenhower family. We are pleased that there were elements of the design that they liked,” she said. “We share their concerns about the longevity of the metal tapestries and the testing, which is going on now.”

Cimko added that the commission stood by its selection process for Gehry: “We have great confidence in the integrity of the process.”

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