A Land Bereft of Models

I didn’t realize that it was so hard to find models and/or fireman and policeman hats:

The sculptor who made the 9/11 memorial that became the center of attention after Mayor Charles Lombardi buffed out the likenesses of two former public safety officials from the granite surface spoke out yesterday, saying that while he understands the mayor’s motivation he does not think it ethical to alter an artist’s work after it has been dedicated. …
“It didn’t matter to me whose face I used,” [Anthony Longo] said. “It was a composite, and to me any random face would do.”
But Longo said finding someone to pose turned out to be harder than he expected. “I tried to get my nephew who is a police officer in Johnston, but he wasn’t available. As time grew short I was getting desperate.”
He said he was explaining his problem to an acquaintance at a restaurant when someone said he should try getting the chief, because “he should have a fireman’s hat.”
Longo said that when he was explaining his problem to Bursie, who also serves as the town’s director of special projects, he asked him in desperation, “‘Frank, do you have a policeman’s hat? Can I use you?’ Frank said he guessed he could pose.”

Knowing artists and having done artistic-type stuff myself, I’ve found a surprisingly common feeling that commissioned work is the property of the commissioner, with nothing unethical about changes. Mr. Longo might have me, though, when he notes that “what he did was not unlike what Michelangelo did when he used faces of local Roman citizens to create the images in the Sistine chapel.” Apparently, there were no local citizens available for Longo’s use, so he had to resort to public officials.
Happens all the time. At least Longo now knows that one often gets into trouble by listening to that sneaky “someone” guy.

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16 years ago


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