Thursday, September 06, 2012

Monumental Sculpture in the USA

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

What monumental sculptures could possibly stand in a democratic country ?  The art form is characteristic of monarchy, indeed of tyranny.  In Philadelphia in 1776 the congress could I think imagine two possibilities, that they would fail or that there would be no giant sculptures in the USA.

Now the face of one of them is carved on Mt Rushmore alongside a fellow slave owner and just across from the abolisher of slavery.  The first Democratic president peacefully sharing the mountain with the first Republican president.




Yet this is the closest we have come to Ozymandias.  The other huge sculptures in the USA represent folk heroes or those who fought against the US army.

At least Jefferson and Washington didn't fight against Lincoln, but Davis, Lee and Jackson did, yet they are represented carved in the rock of the country they betrayed in the largest bass relief in the world



I am both appalled by the choice of subject matter and delighted by how much more appalled Oxymandias (probably Ramses II) would have been to see a sovereign allow such a tribute to its enemies.

Now I must admit that, although their cause was as unjust as any ever, Davis, Lee, Jackson and their too numerous and too loyal soldiers fought with super human courage and determination against overwhelming odds.  But nothing like the odds contemned by Crazy Horse



OK this is it.  The epitome of monumental sculpture turning into the opposite of itself.  This is the worlds larges sculpture, in progress.  The plan is to have it end up looking like this


The amazing thing is that this is the result of individual initiative and by individual I refer to a totally crazy whacked out individual sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski who (I just learned along with along with Lakota chief Henry Standing Bear) decided that the worlds largest and most monumental sculpture would honor the defeated enemy of the US government Crazy Horse.

The result is a partially carved (with dynamite) mountain representing a native American clearly not at all thrilled to find himself under sovereignty of the US government.

And so big big big sculpture the absolutely characteristic sign of the triumph of the collective over the individual has become (well is becoming as they blast away) the triumph of the individual eccentric (OK totally nutso) in which the collective is relevant only because, while their URL ends .org not .com I betcha they take donations.


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