Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Who we are in 500 years

Yesterday, I posted on the statues and busts of real people here in the City of L.A. I usually don't post a post in response to a post I already posted (follow me so far?), but I wanted to clarify why it's important to see the list of who we've immortalized for eternity. Think what we know of the Romans - we know they honored their leaders with statues and now who was important to them based on the collection left to posterity (us).

So, what does our collection reveal about the City? First we are a City consumed with the entertainment industry and Mexico - the majority of the statues & busts are people affiliated with one of those two categories (and sometimes, both). Then, you can look to one other re-occurring theme: Fr. Junipero Serra. From the Mission San Fernando to Olvera Street to educational institutions across the City, Fr. Serra is the most represented image in statuary in the City. Additionally, there are 2 busts of President Lincoln. By looking at this list, there are some true leaders & trail blazers honored with immortality from Leif Erikson to Columbus to Washington to Earhart to Mayor Tom Bradley. Also noteworthy beyond the Mexican influence, there is an international flair to the various sculptures. In fact, only a few are "home-grown heroes" with most either never setting foot in Los Angeles or being transplants to the City.

So what does this say about who we are as a City?

In a sentence, I would say:
This collection reveals us to be a Mexican-influenced, entertainment-centered, leading, international City.

True, I didn't need statues to tell me that, but in 500 years, they'll know it just by looking at the statues we have left to them.

Now, how do Mr. Mack & Mr. Patsouras - the two most recent Statue additions in the City - fit into this equation? Do they support the sentence above? Who would be next to get a Bust or Statue in this City? Will it be an Eli Broad? A political leader? a large donor to an institution? Will the next 500 of statue making follow the trend established thus far? My guess is that we'll see more celebrities cast in bronze before civic or political leaders.

1 comment:

LA City Nerd said...

Actually, there is no requirement that public art reflect something about the community. Regardless, though, this does represent the culture and community we have here in Los Angeles.