Monday, January 1, 2007

Fiorello La Guardia: OMOM Essay 9

My most surprising discovery about La Guardia was that he was once represented as a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I like the energy of Estern's sculpture, even though I'm vehemently opposed to most of what La Guardia did during his 1933-1945 tenure as mayor of New York (summarized in "About the Subject").

When I'd edited this essay for Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan several times, I suddenly noticed how much La Guardia's right pant leg contributes to the sense that he's striding briskly along. I used this to make the point in "About the Sculpture" that you never see everything about a sculpture on first look, or (put positively) that a good sculpture is worth many visits and intense study. I gave myself the task of noticing something new the next 5-6 times I passed one particular sculpture, and sure enough, with that "standing order" in mind I was able greatly to increase my powers of observation.

Since abstract sculptures have predominated in New York for decades, it pleases me that La Guardia is relatively recent (dedicated in 1994), and that its creator, Neil Estern, is still alive and well. Estern's other works in New York are listed in Appendix C of Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan ("Brief Biographies of Artists").

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