ruminations about architecture and design

Monday, February 10, 2014

icons and idols

I was going to comment on Mao's picture in Tiananmen Square, but I Google images gave me this bit of joy.

Anyway, the practice of putting up statues, pictures, and symbols of revered people is deeply human and has employed thousands of architects and artists over the centuries. Muslims tend to avoid it, but leaders of Muslim countries have no problem with depictions of their visage. It can be a dangerous thing to do. Warhol makes a good gesture here, but he was an expert.

The United States is monument crazy, but I like to think that we celebrate a broader range of people. Boston is littered with statues and memorials. With glacial pace, the identity of these people so honored drifts into obscurity. Eventually, most will achieve the anonymous status of Medieval sculptures.

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