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One of my favorite pieces is now hanging where you can go see it in the Abingdon Square branch of Chase Bank at 302 West 12th Street at 8th Avenue in Manhattan.

New York City's Outdoor Sculpture

The building is the New York Chamber of Commerce at 65 Liberty Street. Paul Goldberger, in The City Observed, calls it "too precious to be significant" and that makes it perfect in my eyes. do you recognize the sculptures? I'll pull out a few.

This is the Sherman Monument, for the Civil War General William T. Sherman, situated at Grand Army Plaza, 59th Street at Fifth Avenue. I love the sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and I love this piece.

I love drawing it.

And I've taken a few liberties. Here's the Sherman Monument Visiting the New York Public Library.

Here's Saint-Gauden's Admiral Farragut, a work said to have changed the course of American monumental sculpture. And Saint-Gaudens is called a "master of human psychology, able to conceptualize the intellectual and emotional character of his subject."

Farragut is located in Madison Square Park, but I've placed him next to the Marquis de Lafayette and in front of the Bronx Zoo Rhino. His pedestal was designed by Saint-Gauden's great friend, Stanford White. When they were discussing by letter how to proceed with this project, White wrote,

"Gussie, do what you darn please--it's sure to turn out bully!"

You know how when you think about one thing it seems to pop up all over the place, like when you learn a new word and then you hear it five times in the next two days? Well, we're reading Lamentations in Bible study and yesterday Hannah Faye, our leader, showed us a clip from Martha Graham's version of Lamentations. that was inspired by-you guessed it--Augustus Saint-Gauden with the Adams Monument, in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, DC.

Some people simply call this "Grief."

And here's Martha Graham;

she takes this figure, the embodiment of stillness and brings extraordinary movement to it.

There's a story about the woman buried here and the monument her husband created for her; Maureen Doud wrote about it a long time ago in the New York Times but I found it--you can read it here. I love tracing the connections between thoughts and their results--where do our inspirations come from and what do we do with them? James Baldwin said, "Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed without being faced." May I paraphrase and say, "Not every idea or dream comes to fruition in art, but nothing can become art without a dream." Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all had a friend who said, "Do what you darn please and it's sure to turn out Bully!"

November 11, 2021

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