Monday, January 29, 2007

New York Times review of OMOM

The City section of the New York Times for Sunday 1/28/07 carried a positive review of Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan. This is wonderful news, because the Sunday Times has enormous prestige and a circulation of 1.6 million or so. The text of the review follows. If you'd like to see the review in situ, following the review of the autobiography of a 74-year-old heroin dealer now in a witness protection program (I am not making that up), email me for a scanned image of the page.
Reading New York Tales From Mr. Untouchable, and a Stroll Among the Statues Nicky Barnes [the heroin dealer] cited the statute of limitations. In "Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide" (NYU Press, $18.95 paperback, $60 cloth), Dianne Durante suggests that there are few limitations to statues. "They can make you stop, look and think when you'd swear your brain was too tired to function," she writes. "The achievements and the virtues of the people represented in these statues can help supply the emotional fuel - the psychological energy - that keeps you going." Her guidebook is a perfect walking-tour accompaniment to help New Yorkers and visitors find, identify and better appreciate statues famous and obscure (honoring, among others, the "father of gynecology" and the general who had an unremarkable military and business career but composed taps, the bugle call). While the tone is sometimes preachy and pedantic (the book concludes with a tutorial on how to read a sculpture), Ms. Durante winsomely places 54 monuments in historical and artistic perspective. We learn that a trumpet is an allegory for announcing fame, that the monument to Admiral Farragut in Madison Square Park altered the course of American sculpture, that the figure with the winged hat atop Grand Central Terminal is Mercury and that the statue of Atlas at Rockefeller Center was reviled when it was unveiled in 1937 because it supposedly resembled Mussolini. Let's hope Ms. Durante follows up in the other four boroughs.
"Preachy and pedantic," like "formulaic" in the Sculpture magazine review (see the blog entry of 1/18/07), presumably refer to the fact that I have a well defined method and stringent standards.

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