The legendary architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable, who wrote for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, died last week at age 91. She was the first person to win a Pulitzer Prize for criticism. One of the last reviews Huxtable ever wrote was of the new Barnes Foundation building, about which she'd been very skeptical. In 2007, Lee Rosenbaum quoted her as saying:
I simply cannot believe that anyone is seriously considering reproducing the old rooms in the wrongheaded assumption that this will somehow make it all okay. ...It never works. Are no lessons ever learned? Then, writing for the Journal in May 2012:
How does it feel to have one's core beliefs turned upside down? The 'new' Barnes that contains the 'old' Barnes shouldn't work, but it does. And it isn't alchemy. It's architecture.
That seems like the mark of a good critic: the ability to change one's mind—in print.
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