1000 Strong Against Henry Moore Sculpture


I saw the headline, looked at the photo, and thought maybe they were protesting the sculpture as the abstraction of a splayed, truncated female figure. But who are these people? And what in the world is going on?

And why does my bewilderment have a tinge of nervousness along with a slight lump of sadness in my throat? Partly because I love Henry Moore’s work, certainly, but also at the thought that this could represent yet another front in the brutal “culture wars” that are an element of our current toxic political moment.


2 responses to “1000 Strong Against Henry Moore Sculpture

  1. I have to say that sticking the sculpture in front of Butler Library where it will be put (not in front of the arboral background as in the above picture) does not really show off the work to the best advantage or really mesh with the architecture of the square and lawn around the library. I suppose it depends on whether you believe in architectural harmony or not. For instance, I wouldn’t have squeezed the Le Corbusier building in the middle of all those red brick Harvard buildings in Cambridge either, but at least Harvard Yard has such a mixture of styles that t isn’t a sore thumb. (Still the Carpenter Centrer really should have more open space around it.). I suspect, however, that once Columbia gets the permission from the city it is seeking to expand into (i.e., tear down) a big swath of Harlem, the school will find a more congenial place for the sculpture.


  2. Thinking about this slightly longer, I think if it were up to me (and sadly so few things ever are) I would have moved the Rodin cast from the lawn on the plaza next to Low Library to the place they are putting the Moore, and put the Moore where The Thinker now is. I will wait until Columbia’s administration formally asks my advice before going to measure the two spots to see if this really makes sense. If given enough authority I might swap the Thinker cast for the Brooklyn Museum’s Balzac cast and maybe some other early 20th century sculptures to make something of an sculptural garden in front of Butler Library that harmonizes more with the setting. Note to Columbia: If I’m not in when you call, leave a message and I will call you right back..


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