Monday, July 23, 2012

An appeal to the Italian-American community

Un appello alla comunita italo-americana di New York

Original letter on George The Atheist's blog.

Dear friends:

Here is a photograph of the distinguished New York City-based Italian immigrant Piccirilli Brothers, master stone carvers of some of our town's and the country's greatest monuments. You can read about their illustrious history and artistic accomplishments here. Famed for carving the New York Public Library's iconic lions, the U.S.S. Maine Monument at the entrance to Central Park, statuary on the NY Stock Exchange and the United States Capitol. They carved the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. They worked with the greatest American architects and sculptors of their day: Carrère and Hastings, Daniel Chester French, Stanford White, et al.

They also collaborated with the renowned sculptor Frederick MacMonnies on the work of the statuary grouping known as "Civic Virtue" ("Virtu Civiche") - an artistic allegory depicting the conquering of Vice and Corruption in governmental affairs. This work of art was situated next to Queens Borough Hall for decades. Its tortured history can be read here.

It was moved from its original emplacement outside of City Hall in Manhattan because the then Mayor, a veritable artistic ignoramus (un vero ignorante artistico), Fiorello LaGuardia, it is said, could not stand looking at the statue's culo. A person who hated his own heritage! So it was shipped off to the "hinterlands" of Queens where it stood totally neglected, non-maintained, and exposed to the elements. This was the thanks that the great Italian-American Piccirilli Brothers were given by the civic authorities for the brothers' magnificent artistic endeavors. The statue stood there, ignored, unmaintained, and unloved through the years. But to make matters worse, the ignominy of Political Correctness (Corretezza Politica) reared its ugly head.

The statue was considered demeaning to women!! Why? It was alleged that the Conqueror, Civic Virtue, was slaying 2 women in the guise of snakes. Pandering-to-the public politicians, with nothing else to do, paraded in front of it demanding that it be sold off on CraigsList: here is the House of Representatives disgraced sex-pervert Anthony Weiner, opining on its merits. (If you look carefully, you can see, the ineffective Ann Jawin of the Center for the Women of New York, standing under her umbrella, like a Bobble-head doll, nodding in agreement.) -

There you have it folks. The statue, a sterling example of Italian-American artisanry, has been castigated instead of honored. What is its message? It champions "civic virtue" - something that that should be lauded and not despised. Its future has yet to be written. Help write it.

A slap in the face to Italian-American endeavor?

An insult to the legacy of the Italian-American community?

It is time to wake up! It is time for action!

Don't let them steal it from you. Fix it! Honor your ancestry!


Saluti, giorgiol'ateo


Anonymous said...

The Civic Virtue is a masterpiece. Its demonstrative of the amazing talents that these Italian immigrants possessed.
The deliberate neglect shown to this amazing artwork is beyond shameful. If wieners people (the internet, penis exposing to possible underage girl crowd) had an artwork that was so deliberately destroyed, the whole city would be up in arms.
Italians across the nation should be demanding that this beautiful masterpiece of Italian lineage be fully restored and giving the respect it deserves.
This is truly and amazing statue, the second largest marble sculpture in the world.
To watch people use it for feminist activism or lefty politics is disgusting, have people no shame?
This artwork should be removed from Queens and placed in a setting were it can be enjoyed by the masses. Its true history, of it being designed to remind politicians about corruption should be on a plaque next to it, not the nonsense of it being anti-woman that some use as an organizing tool
Save this statue!

Anonymous said...

This city is done..............

Anonymous said...

Since in Queens our public values are subject to the whims of politicians and so much gets carelessly destroyed based on the calculations of the same why do I have the gut feeling that this appeal is little more than pandering to Vallone.

Do you want him anywhere NEAR boro hall for ANY reason?!?!

Bullshitsky the Art Critic said...

If everyone cared about Italian artwork why were the Vincent Aderante murals in Vallone's distict lost and possibly destroyed in the old Long Island Savings Bank HQ in Queens Plaza?

Queens Plaza has a weed filled lot where L I Savings Bank used to be- but since its ready for a developer (whereas Borough Hall is not) its ok to show your concern in the latter as you ignore the former.

Anonymous said...

And Ann Jawin is of Italian ancestry: Ann Juliano Jawin!

This self-hatred of heritage has no bounds.

georgetheatheist said...

Do you recognize this other statue?

Getulio Piccirilli "in action".

Anonymous said...

The decision has obviously been made by the politically correct lesbian crowd. The issue is settled. Time to move on.

Anonymous said...

Giorgio look at the bright side Queens should request it be placed in Hallorans Piazza Italia.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the talent and good intent of the artisans, on its face, it was a man stepping on 2 women, which as a commissioned public work showed poor judgment in choice of allegory. Then, the man's proportions and tortions were a bit odd, which led to ridicule by the masses from day one. (My grandfather, who grew up in the shadow of City Hall, called it "Fatboy" because of the latter two issues with it.) Yes, it's big. Yes, the guys who created it did other worthwhile things, but no, I don't think it's a great work of public art. However, its inadequacies and the public's disdain for it are part of what makes it endearing. I don't want to see it moved public cost to make way for a sanitized hall of heroes created at more public cost to appease special interests. That won't be great public art either! Just restore it, point out its good intentions, history and controversy as component of the restoration, and leave it where it is!
And PS--the WPA murals on the Richmond Hill post office were also painted over with fluorescent acqua paint several years ago. Wha's up with that? Were they deemed politically incorrect?

Anonymous said...

WPA murals were painted over all over the city because they allegedly showed communist themes. Thankfully, the ones at LaGuardia Airport were restored.

Anonymous said...

You asked for this: What the civic Virtue really needed is a giant erect penis while giving the finger! That would send everyone packing!

georgetheatheist said...

According to Sunday's NY Times article:

"...the statue, which was designed in Paris by Frederick MacMonnies and sculptured in white Georgia marble in the Bronx..."

Sculptured by whom? Nowhere in that article is there any mention of the great Italian-American Piccirillis. BTW, that Bronx mention refers to their studio.

Last article paragraph: "The statue and its message - its writhing female figures embodying what happens to the corrupt - should be moved even closer, where public officials can see it, Ms.Singh said. Right inside their offices."

Move the statute further east to the very entrance of Borough Hall.

Anonymous said...

why not place a statue of a nude Porferio Rubirosa, the Argentine polo player and don juan lover of many movie stars of the 40's and 50's ,at the Queens Court space. waiters named their pepper mills "the Rubirosa"

Rita Haworth ,Barbara Hutton (Woolworth heiress) ,Doris Duke (tobacco Heiress), Zsa Zsa Gabor, etc