Trying to keep up with a score of active septuagenarians proved to be a challenge to our relatively youthful editorial staff. In our rush to prepare the July 14 cover story on “Super 70s,” we allowed some of our incomplete thoughts into print. Here’s what we meant to say.
Bill Lockwood, special programming director at McCarter Theater, got the bright idea that arts programming could be a viable enterprise in 1959, when he and two other Princeton seniors organized a Kingston Trio concert. The concert had to be postponed, Lockwood and friends had to return tickets to disappointed fans, and Lockwood felt first-hand the commercial appeal of contemporary musicians.
Former Bristol-Myers Squibb VP Dick Druckman’s Gold Medal Impressions Gallery is located at 43 Princeton-Hightstown Road in Princeton Junction.
World-renowned architect Michael Graves’ redesign and expansion of the Arts Council of Princeton was completed in 2008.
We also incorrectly identified the title of Ingrid Reed, who had just retired but is remaining active in several other areas. Reed was director of the New Jersey Project, one of the elements of the Eagleton Institute at Rutgers. The director of the Institute itself is Ruth Mandel who, in fact, recruited Reed in 1996. Mandel also lives in Princeton.
We wish we could use the excuse of a “senior moment,” but it won’t fly. The average age of our editorial team is 43. So we will simply apologize.
#b#To the Editor:‘Ageless’ Architects#/b#
Regarding your July 14 cover story on “Super 70s,” and particularly your section on “Ageless Architects,” you might be interested in my March 30 posting on the Atlantic’s blog (www.theatlantic.com):
Elite architects seem to go on and on. If The Washington Post’s Philip Kennicott is right, Frank Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial in Washington will be another hit, if possibly a controversial one. A new Ike Age appears to be dawning. Gehry’s admiration shines through in a way that a much younger architect probably could not express:
Gehry, 81, said he does not often enter the sort of design competition that led to his selection for the project, which is estimated to cost between $90 million and $110 million and tentatively scheduled to open in 2015. But he was moved by the figure of Eisenhower and his often overlooked contributions. It “made me very tearful to realize that this great man was not recognized,” Gehry said.
Gehry is not the first great octogenarian of his profession. Listen to Philip Johnson in the early 1990s. I.M. Pei is still going strong at 83, Oscar Niemeyer (maybe a bit slower) at 102. And think of Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller. Another superstar, Viktor Schreckengost, who created the first academic industrial design program in the 1930s and was celebrated for everything from ceramics to bicycles, lived to 102.
In fact, there’s a big list of articles and books on creativity in the old. And while architecture is an especially difficult profession to enter during a real estate collapse, intrepid young architects have always had unconventional alternatives. Responding to the Depression and sex discrimination, Tatiana Proskouriakoff became one of the world’s greatest Mayanists, reconstructing ruins with breathtaking renderings.
On the other hand, maybe the old are not the main victims of ageism after all. Psychologists have found that the 40s are the pits for human happiness today. And there are good historical reasons. As one of my undergraduate teachers, the historian Lawrence Stone (still Princeton’s Dodge Professor of History at 78), wrote in “The Past and the Present Revisited” (1987), the “real victims” of social change have been the “mature, sober” men and women whose experience was once admired, facing “the demotion of the middle-aged and the elevation of the adolescent and the youth.” And it is part of the plight of middle age that any special provision for it — unlike a “youth program” or a “senior center” — would on its face seem ridiculous. No wonder protest movements now have an older, but not elderly, center of gravity.
Tenner (Princeton, Class of 1965) is a historian of technology and culture. He was a founding advisor of Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center and holds a Ph.D in European history.
#b#Paying Attention To 70s’ Wisdom #/b#
Thanks to Barbara Figge Fox for her personal and self revelatory commentary in the July 14 issue of U.S. 1. It is a very moving piece, at least to me. I was inspired by its contents.
I am at a younger phase of life, a parent of teens, yet Fox describes a stage not so far off for me. I can see and feel the time coming.
This is a call to attention and action, as in “attention must be paid.” I also liked the reluctant turn to death and the need to be considerate in death, something not openly discussed by many. A deep and satisfying read, for which we owe heartfelt congratulations and words of praise.
Isaacs is an attorney with a practice at 601 Ewing Street.