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Statues in Britain are Revolting!!
I came across an interesting article in the Art Newspaper titled “Statues in Britain are revolting—and so are we: The British art world has had enough of “Frankenstein monster memorials”.” (2.7.08, issue 188) It discusses the backlash or “fightback against “bad” public sculpture in the UK” toward the “unprecedented number of tasteless statues that have appeared across the country.” The editor of The Burlington Magazine, Richard Shone complains that “the infestation of public places...by statues and memorials...is now of serious concern.” He goes on to describe a statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square as “Crudely sculpted, the statesman’s arms are outstretched as if showing how big the fish was that he caught…” As well as a sculpture of a man and woman embracing as: “As romantic as a couple who have just been refused a mortgage.”
Though the statements are quite to the point, the article made me wonder about the public sculptures spread throughout New York City and the boroughs. I began to check online and found a site by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, which has a database to search the sculpture collection of the New York City's Parks, as well as the Archives and Photograph Collection of the Art Commission.
There is a good article (though outdated) in the New York Times, titled “An Outdoor-Sculpture Safari around New York” by Grace Glueck (August 7, 1981). Also the Public Art Fund website at http://www.publicartfund.org/.
If anyone has additional internet sites, I would love to gather up a collection of good sites to help locate information.
There are several guidebooks for New York sculptures in the Library catalog.