Sunday, July 31, 2011

New York City [Continents - by Daniel Chester French]

America - by Daniel Chester French..

Architectural sculptures, "Continents"..
By Daniel Chester French..
Completed: 1907..
Location: US Custom House, Bowling Green, Manhatten..
There are four separate sculptures at the front entrance of the Custom House, representing four continents - Asia, America, Europe and Africa. These are rich in symbolism..

[When I was taking these photos, I had no idea these were by Daniel Chester French. Much later, I found out, and am very pleased. Only that I took just one-or-two images of each of these architectural sculptures.]

A sleeping Africa on throne, symbolizing a "Sleeping Continent". Africa's right arm rests upon Sphinx of Egypt and left arm on a sleeping lion. The only nude sculpture in the group, probably alluding to Africa's stereotypical tribal impressions..

Europe sitting on a throne, with left arm resting on globe, symbolizing colonial conquests of many European countries.. The right side is decorated with a frieze from the Parthenon in Athens, representing the history of ancient Greece.

America seated on a throne, with eagle [symbol of the United States of America] and sheaves of corn [symbol of plenty], a Native Indian and "Labor" with rolling wheel of progress..

Asia seated on a throne with tiger on one side and three figures on the other side. Asia sits on a throne supported by human skulls. [I dont much understand symbolisms in Asia, probably myself being an Asian, these befuddle me..] I do understand the symbolism of Buddha, on the lap of Asia, Buddhism having originated from India and followed in many parts of Asia.


US Custom House..
There are many sculptures and carved images on the exterior of the building..

A beautiful keystone..

The Beaux Arts bldg. designed by Cass Gilbert..

# Daniel Chester French - Lincoln Statue [Washington DC]
# Daniel Chester French - Head of Victory [Washington DC]..
# Daniel Chester French - Statue of the Republic [Hyde Park, Chicago]..
# Daniel Chester French - Tomb of Marshall Field [Graceland Cemetery, Chicago]..
# Daniel Chester French - Truth [AIC, Chicago]..

# Daniel Chester French - "Continents" [Article by Douglas Yeo]..

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Open Queries..

  • Which US cities have very high concentration of Outdoor Public Art?
  • And any idea which city has the highest concentration, or top three cities with very high concentration of Public Art?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Some of My Favourite Sculptures, from outside of Chicago..

George Washington - by John Quincy Adams Ward..
Location: Federal Hall National Memorial..

Statue of Freedom, by Thomas Crawford..
US Capitol Bldg., Washington DC..

Chief Washakie - by Dave McGary..
Location: National Statutory Hall, US Capitol Bldg., Washington DC..

American Merchant Marines Memorial..
By Marisol Escobar [ Dedicated 1991]
Location: Battery Park, NY City..
The bronze sculpture was inspired by an actual photograph taken by Greman attackers as the American marines clung to their sinking vessel..

The River - by Aristide Maillol..
[Began 1938-39.. Completed: 1943../ Lead]
Location: MOMA, NY City..

Charging Bull, by Arturo Di Modica..
Installed following the 1987 stock market crash as a symbol of the "strength and power of the American people".. by the sculptor [it was the artist's idea, not the city's..]

Knotted Gun, by Carl Fredrik Reutersward..
Gift of Luxembourg to United Nations..
Location: United Nations Plaza..

Red Cube by Isamu Noguchi..
Location: In front of HSBC bldg. on Broadway, NY City..

Echo - by Jaume Plensa..
Location: Madison Square Park, NY City..

Bend of Mind..By Tony Cragg ..
Bronze/ 2005..
Location: Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park..
Grand Rapids, Michigan..

Horizon - by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir..
Location: Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park..

Federal Hall National Memorial..
Statue of Freedom, by Thomas Crawford..
National Statutory Hall, US Capitol Bldg., Washington DC..
MOMA Sculpture Garden..
Sculptors at United Nations Plaza.
Bend of Mind..By Tony Cragg ..
Horizon - by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir..

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pioneer Court: Temporary Exhibit [Forever Marilyn - by Seward Johnson]

Forever Marilyn..
By Seward Johnson
Based upon the photo by Bruno Bernard, famously known as Bernard of Hollywood, showing Marilyn Monroe’s character in Billy Wilder's 1955 movie "The Seven Year Itch" cooling off by standing over a subway grate.
Description: 26-foot tall monumnetal sculpture, weighing 34,000 pounds..
Unveiled July 15, 2011..
Temporary Exhibit till Spring 2012..
Location: Pioneer Court at 401 N. Michigan Avenue..

"Forever Marilyn" is a new sculpture and it's first installation is at Chicago. The Zeller Realty Group [owners of Pioneer Court] in collaboration with The Sculpture Foundation [Not-for-profit entity], commissioned the installation of the sculpture.

Seward Johnson is 80-year old sculptor from New Jersey. He has an interesting project, "Icons Revisited", where he creates sculptures based on popular images. Like..
  • God Bless America - based on famous painting "American Gothic" by Grant Wood
  • Forever Marilyn - based on the famous photograph by Bruno Bernard
  • Unconditional Surrender - based on photo-journalist Victor Jorgenson's "Kissing the War Goodbye"..
Johnson has "created a series of sculptures that are inspired by well-known images [and] transformed these elements of popular culture and history to provoke questions in the viewer about the meanings of our icons, the passage of time and the impact societal changes have on the mythology of some of these beloved images."
- Paula Stoeke, Director of The Sculpture Foundation..

With Marilyn, we hope to rekindle an attitude and optimism from an era that this iconic figure represents – a time when we, as a nation and a people, were proud, productive, optimistic and self-assured, if a bit mischievous. We seek a return to American Exceptionalism, and trust Marilyn will propel our attitudes in the right direction,”
- Paul Zeller, President and CEO of Zeller Realty Group

Jack Brickhouse Memorial "Hey-Hey" - by Jerry McKenna, at the Pioneer Court..

Other Seward John's Temporary Exhibits, at the same Pioneer Court includes..
  • God Bless America.. and..
  • King Lear..

God Bless America - by Seward Johnson, click here..

King Lear - by Seward Johnson, click here..

Johnson is most famous for creating scuptures about everyday people doing everyday thing. Few of his sculptures that I've seen..

Take time out, before time runs out.. - by Seward Johnson..
shows businessmen taking break to play Frisbee..
Location: Outside Presidential Towers..

"Double Check" - by Seward Johnson..
which depicts a businessman sitting on a bench going through his briefcase.
Location: New York City's Liberty Park near the World Trade Center..

Coming back to "Forever Marilyn"..

Personal Comment..
First and foremost - I love it!
I have read many negative comments like sexist, creepy, voyeuristic, not-a-piece-of-art, Disneyfication of Chicago and so on. Well at least it evokes sharp reaction! One cannot pass-by without noticing it! It's good when an iconic image is re-examined in public eye after a time gap. Being very interested in public-art, I am closely observing how people in general react to it. If there are sharp negative reactions, there are equally popular positive reactions! In it's brief stay in Chicago, I feel, it will soon emerge as one of the most visited and photographed destinations!

As for me, I love it!
I had seen it's photographs and read a few reviews, before I actually saw it yesterday, and as I was standing in front of it, I was like, really? This is what some people are so mad about? Are they mad about the popularity of the iconic Marilyn photo, or mad about a monumental sculpture made out of it? Or the fact that Marilyn's skirt is blowing in the wind, and people can see beneath her skirt, is way too much for people to handle? Or is it something about artistic integrity?

I feel Chicago has a place for pop-culture icon Marilyn Moroe's pop-art sculpture! And it's based on one of her most famous images. And I very much like the work of Seward Johnson and his project "Icons Revisited". When it's a Temporary Exhibit, it better be sensational, so that it stays in people's memories..

I think Chicago has a place for many different styles of sculptures and made by sculptors local or outside of Chicago. It can embrace neo-classical to modern, detailed to abstract and minimalist, serious to funny, iconic to mundane, fully-draped to nudes, and on topics timeless to contemporary. It has found a place for Augustus Saint Gaudens' stately "Lincoln" sculpture to cubist Picasso's "once" controversial "Picasso"; from Calder's playful "Flamingo" to Magdalene's soul-searching "Agora"; from detailed and timeless "Winged Victory" to Hunt's abstract "Eagle Columns" to Serra's minimalist "Reading Cones". I can go on-and-on.. The same holds for sculptor's Chicago based or not. From internationally acclaimed Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, Isamu Noguchi, Jaume Plensa, Anish Kapoor to artists who made Chicago their home like Lorado Taft, Leonard Crunelle, Albin Polasek, Abbott Pattison to contemporary Chicago artists Richard Hunt, Terrence Karpowicz, Tony Tasset, Dessa Kirk and many more.. and YES a place for New Jersey based Seward Johnson's "Forever Marilyn".

My one big complain is, Chicago still does not have a monument for Daniel Burnham!
And a wish.. I would love to meet Seward Johnson!

God Bless America - by Seward Johnson..
King Lear - by Seward Johnson..
Take Time Out - by Seward Johnson..
Jack Brickhouse Memorial "Hey-Hey" - by Jerry McKenna..
The Pioneer Court..

Something Right?

Hopefully I must be doing something right, to have a 1,000+ views,
on a normal day when I had not undated my blog in a few days..

I take some pride in the fact that this blog on a topic of public-art, which people do not discuss or even notice so often, except when something sensational like "Forever Marilyn" happens!

And I am happy that it has become a reference guide.. when new Steward Johnson's "Forever Marilyn", sculpture is installed, "views" on his earlier sculptures, "God Bless America" and "King Lear" spiked up..

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Two Weeks Summer Vacation [Trip to New York City, Washington DC, New Jersey and Philadelphia]

Above Image: "Charging Bull", by Arturo Di Modica [NY City]

Two Weeks Summer Vacation..
June 26th - to - July 9th, 2011..
Trip to New York City, Washington DC, New Jersey and Philadelphia..

Of which, New Jersey was a family visit to my aunt, so nothing remotely touristy there, but some delicious home-cooked Indian food, I was missing..
Some Sweeping Observations..
  • NY City is the easiest place to navigate though public transport, although driving is another story altogether! Hats off to the drivers in NY City!..
  • NY City has many and some HUGE water-fountains. I can bet it has the higest concentration of water-fountains, of any cities in the US of A!
  • Washington DC is a city of Monuments and Memorials; Stately, Serene and Very Impressive!
  • New Jersey was a family visit. And YES home-cooked meals are The Best! And when it's "Indian" home-cooked dinner, being savoured after a long-time, there's no words for it! Who doesn't like the food they grow on!
  • Philedephia people are VERY courteous! This personal experience of mine, has been challenged by some friends; but I hold on to it..
  • As much as I want memories of my short-exhausting-fun trip to linger on, I am being pulled to come back to normal rountine life of Chicago ASAP..

My travelogue in a nutshell..
FIRST STOP: New York City..
June 26th-to-July 3rd, 2011

Day One: [June 26, 2011] Flight from Chicago to New York City..

Day Two [June 27, 2011]: Museum of Natural History..
American Museum of Natural History.. Saw five Special Exhibits.. [1] Journey to the Stars [IMAX], [2] Brain, The Inside Story, [3] Sea Rex: Journey to a Pre-Historic World [IMAX], [4] The World's Largest Dinosours, [5] Frogs: A Chorus of Colors..

Above Image: "Knotted Gun", by Carl Fredrik Reutersward [NY City]

Day Three [June 28, 2011]
Trip to Time Square, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, United Nations.. and shopping at Bloomingsdale..
For more, click here..

Above Image: "The Statue of Liberty", by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi [NY City]..

Day Four [June 29, 2011]
Highlights of the day includes paying homage to Lady Liberty and Ground Zero. Also visit the One Financial Center, Washington Memorial, The Bull sculpture, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Bldg... and shopping at "The World's Largest Store Macy's", in Herald Square..
For more, click here..

Above Image: "Echo", by Jaume Plensa [NY City]

Day Five [June 30, 2011]
Highlights include a trip to Staten Island, walk in the Battery Park, Flatiron Bldg. and nearby Madison Square Park, then to Rockefeller Center and towards the evening to Grand Army Plaza and Columbus Circle..
For more, click here.
Art Deco Artwork at Rockefeller Center..

Above Image: Isamu Noguchi Museum..

Day Six [July 1, 2011]
Trip to Queens to Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park..
And evening was musical at Broadway, "Mary Poppins" at New Amsterdam Theater.. And it was..
For more, click here..
Some of my Favourite Public Art pieces from New York City.. click here..

Above Image: "The River" - by by Aristide Maillol [NY City]

Day Seven [July 2, 2011]
Typically my kind of day.. Trip to MOMA, Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art and evening at the Observation Deck of the Empire State Bldg.
Some highlights..
MOMA Sculpture Garden..

Day Eight [July 3, 2011]: Bus trip from New York City to Washington DC..

SECOND STOP: Washington DC
July 3rd-to-July 6th, 2011..
Day One [July 3, 2011]: Bus trip from New York City to Washington DC..

Day Two [July 4, 2011]
Highlights was 4th of July parade at National Mall and seeing several monuments and memorials.. and ended with seeing fireworks from hotel rooftop.
For more, click here..
Washington is a city of monuments and memorials. Here are a few I saw in the trip Wasington DC: Monuments and Memorials, click here..

Above Image: US Capitol Bldg. [Washington DC]

Day Three [July 5, 2011]
It was a Washington DC Hop-On-Hop-Off Open-Top Double-Decker Bus Tour..
Some Highlights..
US Capitol Bldg.: The Rotunda, click here..
US Capitol Bldg.: National Statutory Hall, click here..
Union Station, Washington DC, click here..
Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain..
Hoof Code of Equestrian Statues, click here.

Day Four [July 6, 2011]: Train trip from Washington DC to New Jersey

THIRD STOP: New Jersey..
July 6th-to-July 8th, 2011..
This was a family visit to my aunt's place, so no images here..

Above Image: Liberty Bell [Philadelphia]

FOURTH STOP: Philadelphia..
July 7th, 2011..
Day trip from New Jersey to Philadelphia, and back to New Jersey..
Yet to add images from the trip..

FIFTH STOP: New York City..
July 8th: Train trip from New Jersey to New York City..
July 9th: Flight back to Chicago..

NY City: Brooklyn Bridge..
NY City: Ground Zero..
NY City: Federal Hall National Memorial [Birthplace of American Government]
NY City: Rockefeller Center: Art Deco Artwork..
NY City: MOMA: Sculpture Garden..
NY City: Sculptures at United Nations Plaza ..
NY City: Noguchi Museum..
NY City: Favourite Public Art pieces

Washington DC: US Capitol Bldg...
Washington DC: US Capitol Bldg. [National Statutory Hall]..
Washington DC: US Capitol Bldg. [Feresco "Apotheosis of Washington" - by Constantino Brumidi]..
Washington DC: US Capitol Bldg. [The Statue of Freedom - by Thomas Crawford]
Washington DC: Union Station..
Washington DC: Monuments and Memorials
Washington DC: Washington Memorial..
Washington DC: Lincoln Memorial..
Washington DC: World War- II Memorial..
Washington DC: Peace Monument..
Washington DC: Arts of War and Arts of Peace - by Leo Friedlander..
Washington DC: Monument to John Ericsson [Swedish-American emigrant]..
Washington DC: First Division Memorial..

Philadelphia: A Day Trip..

Hoof Code of Equestrian Statues...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Philadelphia: A Day Trip!

Liberty Bell

It was a very small day trip! Not even a day trip, just 3-4 hours in the city. Reached Philly at 3pm and left by 7 pm. Most of museums close by 5pm. Could not make it even to the Rodin Museum, which I would have loved to see. Only took photos of "The Thinker", from the fence. Most of the images here are taken from the bus. Some walking. All in a great hurry!

Independence Hall..

House of Betsy Ross..

Government of the People - by Jacques Lipchitz [1976]

The Thinker - Auguste Rodin..

Pegasus with Calliops and Erato
In front of Memorial Hall, Fairmont Park.

Pegasus with Calliops and Erato
In front of Memorial Hall, Fairmont Park.

The Washington Monument by Rudolph Siemering..
Location: Eakins Oval, in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art stairs..

Mounted Amazon attacked by a panther..
- by August Kiss [1839/cast 1929]

Rocky statue outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art..
Before Rocky III, released in 1982, Stallone commissioned A. Thomas Schomberg to create a bronze statue of Rocky.

Rocky Steps..
The 72 stone steps before the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is now popularly known as the Rocky Steps..It appears in the triple-Oscar-winning film Rocky and four of its sequels, Rocky II, III, V and Rocky Balboa.

Philadelphia Museum of Art: YES I did climb the famous 72-steps, The Rocky Steps"!

Prometheus Strangling the Vulture - by Jacques Lipchitz
Location: Philadelphia Museum of Art..

Iroquis - by Mark deSuvero..

Religious Liberty - by Moses Ezekiel..
Commissioned by B'nai B'rith for the United States Centennial.
Dedicated in 1876.

What sculpture is this?

Love Park, with Love sculpture by Robert Indiana..

Love sculpture by Robert Indiana..

Angle of Resurrection - by Walker Hancock..
Pennsylvania Railroad World War II Memorial..

Main Concourse - Pennsylvanis Station..