Sunday, August 31, 2008

Action Tableaux

I just came across
this remarkable ensemble
made in 1994 for Pamplona, Spain,
by Rafael Huerta (b. 1929)
(and updated - presumably with more figures - in 2007)

How it feels when standing in that square --
well, I have no idea.

But the pictures look pretty thrilling,
and the individual men and bulls quite vigorous.

This is the sculptor's self portrait
(he got into trouble adding the portraits of
a few local politicians)
and I think it shows him as a Classicist --
i.e. -- he's looking for eternal stillness
even as he covers the street with rampaging bulls

I'd like to see this duet
all by itself in my museum.

It's kind of how I feel about life
at this moment.

Here's how it looks
to meet your destiny!

The artist's self portrait again,
somehow at peace
amidst the chaos.

There's not very many
of these monumental,
multi-figure tableaux
to be found in the world
(at least -- outside the old USSR)

But we have one in our
nation's capitol:

Henry Merwin Shrady's
Ulysses S. Grant Memorial in Washington D.C.

(these excellent photos
taken by Kimberly Faye )

Shrady's background is
almost the complete inverse
of Huerta's.

Shrady was an academic outsider,
a self-taught
sculpture maniac
who devoted his entire professional life
to this one monument
(and died before it was dedicated)

While Huerta,
the son of a distinguished sculptor,
has been a life-long professor at an art academy,
with this monument,
coming at the end of his career,
being his greatest achievement.

Shrady was more like an expert in the Civil War,
Huerta an expert in sculpture.

But despite his lack of a beaux arts education,
Shrady's piece
is as exciting as it can be.

He really had a taste for drama

and action.

If he had made movies,
he would have been John Ford.

It's as if....
he loved this subject so much,
he forced himself to learn sculpture
by sheer force of will.


Blogger Robert said...

Well we can agree at least in part, the bulls group is excellent, worth going specially to see. I am surprised it is not better known.

September 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Chris, I'd like to send you a personal email, what is the best way to contact you privately?

September 03, 2008  
Anonymous Marly said...

I love the final line! And the tumult of the bulls...

September 08, 2008  

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