Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



I believe it was Goethe who observed that "daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game." This book may beat John Costonis, but I will wager he has started a winning game.I say this because in spite of his wit and the cartoons, he is going to make some Very Important People mad-if they will read this book. I would like to see the faces of, say, Kent Barwick, President of the Municipal Art Society of New York City, and Brendan Gill of The New Yorker when they read the first chapter.For Costonis mangles many of the shibboleths that have charged the batteries of the preservationists for these last two decades. What we have done, Costonis argues, is to transfer the beauty of the museum to the courthouse, and judges simply are not qualified to issue ukases on beauty.