Years ago when I lived in San Francisco, the Mayor was shot down
by a derranged city councilman. The city had commissioned a
statue of Mayor Moscone to be erected at the newly constructed
Moscone Center. At the official unveiling, what everyone
expected was a perfect likeness of the Mayor, strong, confident
and to many, respectful of his office. What the artist fashioned
was the Mayor’s face in constricted anguish, resembeling what he
must have looked like when he was just shot and in great pain.
The artist argued that the look of terror in the Mayor’s face is
what everyone should be reminded of when anyone uses a gun. That
simply violence is horrible.
That statue was removed and a new one was put up shortly after.
Was the artist wrong? Was the intent to the artist misconstrued?
Was the artist simply a vehicle for the city officials wishes.
In Boston we have a much talked about statue called “The Potato
Famine”. It shows a family with outstretched hands, starving and
in dire need of food. Across from this grouping, is another
grouping of a well fed family playing happily. The artist
intended to honor the Irish immigrants who came to Boston fleeing
the potato famine and who eventually thrived. In my opinion, it
is a disturbing grouping, not because of the content, but because
the work wasn’t really executed that well.