About

Justin-ShubowA 2008 graduate of Yale Law School, I am president of the National Civic Art Society (NCAS), a non-profit dedicated to the classical and humanistic tradition in public art and architecture. I blog regularly about architecture for Forbes magazine, and received a 2015 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship from the Fund for American Studies. I also sit on the Board of Academic Advisors for the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization.

Under my leadership, NCAS is spearheading a project to rebuild McKim, Mead & White’s original Penn Station in New York City.

I’m the author of The Gehry Towers over Eisenhower: The National Civic Art Society Report on the Eisenhower Memorial, a 150-page critique that has been credited with galvanizing the opposition to the memorial’s competition, design, and agency approval. Architect magazine reported, “NCAS voices legitimate concerns—about the scale, materials, and durability of Gehry’s design, for instance, as well as about the selection process.”

According to the Washington Post, my report “has received a remarkable amount of attention, offering talking points for … columnists and critics.” Writing in Vanity Fair, a hostile Paul Goldberger called it “apocalyptic … over-the-top.” (See my letter in response here.)  More charitable reviews said it was “fiery” and contains “devastating pieces of information.” MIT professor Paul D. Spreiregen, the professional advisor for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial competition, said the report is “quite fascinating” for presenting “at least four articles in one—Gehry, the design, the process, and classicism.”

In the words of National Journal, I have “risen to prominence as the design’s most outspoken critic.” Metropolis magazine said I have “waged a one-man war against the proposed memorial.” According to RealClearPolitics, “Shubow and his group have become go-to sources for criticisms about the memorial in papers like The Washington PostNew York Times, and The Daily Beast.” Philanthropy magazine reported, “In taking on Gehry, [the National Civic Art Society has] punched well above its weight class.” The Kansas City Star sent NCAS and me “kudos” for our FOIA investigation of the National Park Service’s role in the controversy.

In June 2012, I testified in front of the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands on “The Future of the National Mall.” According to the senior editor of Architect, my speech was “soaring and inspiring.” The lead editorial in Landscape Architecture derided my remarks but conceded I was “a very sharp wit.” C-SPAN video of the hearing here. You can find an essay adapted from my testimony here.

In March 2013, in front of the same subcommittee I testified along with Rep. Darrell Issa on a bill to scrap Gehry’s design for the National Eisenhower Memorial. The New York Times and Financial Times quoted my testimony, which I later turned into an essay. Video here. I begin at the 54:30 mark. At 1:09:00, Rep. Tom McClintock quotes my written testimony on the essential nature of monuments, after which he comments:

That is the most beautiful description of what we ought to be focused on that I’ve seen. In whatever future legislation we adopt, this ought to be the preamble of it. I want to commend you on the most clear-headed statement I’ve seen on the subject.

After the hearing, the American Institute of Architects attempted but failed to rebut my criticism of that organization’s defense of the Memorial’s closed, undemocratic competition.

In July 2013, I testified to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the aesthetic guardians of Washington, D.C., in which I lambasted Gehry’s design as the architect looked on. My speech was quoted by the AP, U.S. News, and the Washington Times. Curbed blogged about it under the headline “Nine Brutal Lines From the Latest Eisenhower Memorial Critique.”

In November 2013, I testified again to the Fine Arts Commission. In the ensuing discussion, a number of the commissioners referred positively to my remarks, and two said they found my handout particularly persuasive.

In April 2014, I testified to the National Capital Planning Commission. The Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s executive architect specifically attempted to rebut my remarks.

In July 2014, I spoke at a congressional briefing on the Eisenhower Memorial (video here). The following month, Rep. Issa quoted my remark (published in the Daily Beast) that the alleged Kansas landscape depicted in the Memorial might as well be Kazakhstan.

I spent four years in the University of Michigan’s Ph.D. program in philosophy, and have taught my own philosophy courses at Michigan and Yale. During law school, I was a Yale Journalism Scholar and studied in the International Security Studies’ Program in Grand Strategy. As an undergraduate at Columbia University, I majored in philosophy, minored in physics, and was the student representative to the Faculty Committee on the Core Curriculum.

A former magazine and newspaper editor, I have published reviews and criticism on everything from political philosophy to terrorism to menswear. I’ve spoken about architecture and other subjects at the National Arts Club, First Things magazine, Baylor University; Colorado College; Hamilton College; Siena Heights University (Dialogue Day keynote address); and the Universities of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, among elsewhere.

You can find me on Twitter at @JustinShubow. Send me an e-mail at js@shubow.com.

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