Thursday, January 18, 2007

First Review of OMOM: Sculpture magazine's Insider, Jan./Feb. 2007

Yesterday a friend sent the first review I've seen of Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan, from the January/February 2007 issue of Sculpture, a leading magazine in the field of contemporary sculpture. The review appeared in their "Insider" section, which goes only to subscribers - the copy I picked up at the newsstand doesn't have it. The review takes up two-thirds of the Insider's table of contents page and includes a 3.5 x 2.5" image of OMOM's cover, as well as the following comments:
Anyone whose curiosity has ever been piqued by the peculiar mixture of historical statues that ornament the grounds of Central Park will find Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide by Dianne Durante a satisfying read. … Readers are encouraged to observe closely the significance of details that may be missed in a passing glance or even to the naked eye. The entries provide background on each work’s origin, explaining, for example, how a statue of the medieval Polish king Jagiello came to be in New York alongside more predictable allegorical and American patriotic figures. A brief history of the subject is also provided, including enough lively anecdotes and obscure facts to entice all readers. The appendices include a formulaic - though potentially instructive - guide for viewing sculpture, a list of the works in chronological order, and brief biographies of the artists. … A useful tool to those seeking concise yet wide-ranging information on Manhattan’s many historical public works.
What they call "formulaic" I call "systematic." When you're learning to do a new task, the proper structure is essential. After you've got the basics down you can improvise. Think of cooking, or swimming, or even learning to read. That point aside, though, I'm particularly pleased with this review because I wouldn't have expected Sculpture to be interested in a book on 19th-c. representational sculpture that discusses Ayn Rand's esthetics. Look at the image on the current cover and you'll see why. NOTE: Periodicals don't always send the publisher or author a copy of a review, so if you see a review or mention of OMOM, please let me know (

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