Jump to content
Bill Cotter

A pleasant summer night in 1965

Recommended Posts

WOW!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Say, Bill... is there a 2018 calendar coming?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Question:  When the Rocket Thrower was restored and re-landscaped several years ago, was the sculpture also turned around so that it faces in the opposite direction?  Or am I imagining this? 

It is also interesting to note how remarkably similar in detail, size and form The Rocket Thrower is to Mr De Lue's bronze sculpture entitled The Spirit of American Youth located at the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer in Normandy.

https://travelfranceonline.com/colleville-sur-mer-american-cemetery-wwii

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cleaned and buffed up, yes; re-landscaping, several times over the decades.  But it was not turned around- it's still facing the Unisphere.

A possible source of this confusion is the U.S. postage stamp issued in 1964.  It was designed by Robert J. Jones (a long-time stamp designer) at the Bureau of Engraving & Printing, from an an early composite artist's conception, composed before the statue was even installed.  In other words, the stamp shows a statue orientation that has never existed.

The day after the design was unveiled by the Postmaster General (on March 14th), the N.Y. Times noted "as of last Wednesday, only the Unisphere was in position, as indicated by the stamp design."

The source of the artwork submitted to the Bureau, it turns out, was the Fair Corporation!  In 1962 they had commissioned artist John C. Wenrich to produce several watercolors, to be used in various publicity campaigns.  The approval of a stamp for the Fair was delayed- the Feds were waiting on an official request from Robert Moses, and Moses held off, using it as leverage until President Kennedy finally approved a United States Pavilion.  In something of a rush, the Fair Corporation staff simply pulled from existing art stock, and submitted the 1962 watercolor.

The statue was not installed until a few days before the Fair opened, and faces the Unisphere. 

Wennrich was a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology and an instructor there (you, too, Bill Cotter, or were you at Rennsalear?).  Wennrich was quoted as saying "My painting was not made with a postage stamp in mind.  Had I been designing a stamp it would have been much simpler and bolder".

 

9915_lg[1].jpg

pcard04[1].jpg

 

It seems the Bureau was not too keen on the design submitted by the Fair Corporation, because it was so complex (as the artist himself noted).  They had their staff prepare four other design essays for consideration (some of which to my untrained eye look even MORE complex and busy!).  But ultimately they stuck with the Wennrich watercolor.

Photo_Essays.thumb.jpg.1de9956b6129e8178f42aee65949cfe3[1].jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Talk about a train wreck.  No WONDER they rejected this one!  I took a stab at identifying all the jammed together Fair buildings, save one that I just marked with a ? ? ? 

 

HODGEPODGE.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/4/2017 at 2:53 PM, waynebretl said:

Say, Bill... is there a 2018 calendar coming?

Yes, I will have something in a week or so.

Jim, I went to Clarkson - certainly not our arch-rival in hockey, Rensselaer! Actually, I had gotten into RPI but I picked Clarkson. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Bill Cotter said:

Yes, I will have something in a week or so.

Jim, I went to Clarkson - certainly not our arch-rival in hockey, Rensselaer! Actually, I had gotten into RPI but I picked Clarkson. :)

I'm curious - what did you take up at Clarkson (besides residence :blush: )?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The proposed stamp with just the Rocket Thrower is interesting. It has something to say.  The other proposals are  cluttered and not particularly inspired.

I suppose I have just been looking at the actual 1964 stamp so long I began to wonder in what direction the Rocket Thrower sculpture was facing.  I figured if Alexander Calder's huge stabile, Man, could be completely repositioned on Ile Ste. Helene, then turning the Rocket Thrower would have been no big deal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unisphere, Rocket Thrower and Form, by Jose de Rivera, are the three commissioned statuary that have not been moved.  Form's rotation motor has been replaced.

The others:

Armillary Sphere, by Paul Manship- simply disappeared in the 1970's.  Absconded at night, presumably for the metal scrap value.

Bacchante and Infant Faun, by Frederick William MacMonnies - borrowed from MOMA in 1964; returned in 1965.  Still there.

Forms in Space, by Theodore Roszak - moved from the center of the Transportation Area to make room for the Queens Zoo, to former site of the "Fountain of Progress North" between the Hall of Science and the site of the '64-65 Ford Pavilion.  It was vandalized in the 1970's and a stolen piece of the sculpture has never been replaced.

Freedom of the Human Spirit- moved to make room for Arthur Ashe Stadium- now a bit closer to the Unisphere than it was during the Fair.  Appears to be in good condition.

The Vine, by Harriet Whitney Frishmuth - borrowed from MOMA in 1964; returned in 1965.  Still there.  Displayed next to Bacchante and Infant Faun with no mention of the World's Fair loan for two years.

 

And of course a few other Fair statues and monuments of note-

Pieta- loaned from St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome in 1964; returned in 1965; seriously damaged in a 1970's attack, fully repaired.  Still available for free public viewing, but now behind a bulletproof glass partition.

Lithuanian Wayside Shrine- left behind as a Park monument in 1965, disappeared in the 1970's.  Something of a mystery, since the wood material had no particular scrap value.

George Washington statue - Masonic Pavilion - A full-size faux-patined plaster model based on an original Donald De Lue sculpture installed in the Louisiana Lodge of the Masons in 1959.  The plaster model was not built to survive outdoors, so Robert Moses commissioned a bronze replica to be cast in Italy, in time for the park's reopening in 1967.  It is located near the Masonic Pavilion site.  Identical castings were also made for the Masonic Hospital in Wallingford, Connecticut and the Detroit Civic Center in Michigan.

Paul Bunyon statue - Oregon Timber Carnival - sold and moved to a miniature golf course at Lake George, NY.

Big Ole - a 1965 addition to the Minnesota Pavilion.  It is now something of a roadside attraction in Alexandria, MN.

  • In 1967 the town dressed him for the holidays in a Santa suit -- into which someone shot a flaming arrow that sent Ole up in flames! His sword was snapped off by another vandal, and the Viking has often had an extra piece of anatomy added between his legs.
  • In 1996 he was knocked cockeyed by a freak windstorm, and when he was lying prone for repairs, his leg was crushed under the collapse of a snow-covered roof.
  • Through it all, however, Alexandria has rallied to their Viking lord, footing the bills for his patch-ups and repaintings and celebrating his return every time.
  • In 2002, Alexandria moved Big Ole north a couple of blocks to a small park on the south shore of Lake Agnes. His shield still boldly proclaims "Birthplace of America," but Big Ole was given a less stressful spot for his middle age.
  • In 2015 the town raised $26,000 for Big Ole's repair after an inspection uncovered numerous cracks in his body. Alexandria then decided to go all-out and gave their big he-man a total makeover, which was completed in August 2016. Big Ole should now be invincible into the mid-21st century.

Sinclair Dinosaurs- went on a nationwide Sinclair tour 1966-68 on flatbed trucks.  Now spread around the country in various parks, with varying degrees of care and maintenance.

Giant Jesus statue - Mormon Pavilion - moved to a Mormon church in California, where it is still displayed with a notebook explaining the World's Fair history.

Giant Tire - not a statue per se in 1964-65- it was actually a ferris wheel ride; but now converted to a monument and displayed near Detroit, Michigan.

Tower of the Four Winds - Pepsi Pavilion - scrapped in 1965.  The Disney  people had something else in mind for the entrance of the Small World ride when it was moved to Anaheim, CA.

General Foods Arches- a few still survive at various locations in the northeast, but most were scrapped.

Coca-Cola Carillon- the Carillon was moved to Stone Mountain, GA, where it still produces music and can be seen.

1904 Totem Poles- from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair- displayed outside the Alaska Pavilion in '64-65.  Returned to Sitka, Alaska after the Fair, where at least one still survives (now indoors in a museum) in a Totem Pole Park.

 

For some reason, the Fair Corporation chose not to provide any night illumination for Rocket Thrower, leaving it as an artistic 'shadow' between the illuminated Fountains of the Fairs and the illuminated Unisphere (similar to much of the statuary in the '39-40 Fair).

But in this time exposure during the nightly fireworks show, it caught some reflected light.  (similar to Bill's higher resolution pic that started this topic)

 

Rocket Thrower with fireworks.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×