Friday, December 22, 2006

Why Dianne blogs

In February 2007 New York University Press will issue Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide, on 54 of Manhattan's best outdoor representational sculptures. I conceived OMOM as a guidebook for New Yorkers and tourists, but it evolved into a discussion of historical and esthetic issues that fascinate me, and I hope will fascinate you as well. For the next two months (through February 2007) I plan to post a paragraph or two every day about one of the OMOM essays: what's covered in "About the Sculpture" and "About the Subject," why I chose those particular topics, what I found most surprising when doing the research, and/or what I most regretted deleting. Eventually (in March?) I'll upload out-takes, bibliographical references, and intriguing snippets of research that never even made it into an early draft.

Since 2002 I've been running the website, which offers comments on dozens of outdoor representational sculptures in New York. (It gets from 50,000 to 80,000 hits per month, so someone out there is interested.) The Forgotten Delights site was set up to promote my self-published book Forgotten Delights: The Producers. If you've read FDP, you'll find the format of Outdoor Monuments familiar:

  • Introductory section with title, artist, date, size, medium, location

  • Photograph of the sculpture

  • Sidebar (a substantial quote, often by the person represented or from a contemporary source, sometimes from a poem or novel)

  • About the Sculpture (on the sculpture as art)

  • About the Subject (on the person or event represented)

Outdoor Monuments has better photos than FDP, a more professional layout and binding, and of course it covers 54 items rather than the 19 in FDP. For anyone interested in learning to look at sculpture with an informed and inquisitive eye, OMOM's Appendix A, "How to Read a Sculpture," will be worth the book's purchase price, since it sets out a systematic method for looking at a sculpture.

ISBN 987-0-8147-1987-9. Release date: February 2007. $18.95 paperback, $60.00 cloth. 300 pages. Available from New York University Press and Amazon.

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