Famous Faces – Interim Update

Planning and production for Famous Faces progressed gradually over the last year, but has really picked up in the last several months. This winter I made decisions regarding subjects and source images for the statues, as well as fabrication methods and vendors. The base panels are in production. The next steps are processing images for screen-printing the panels and figuring out installation logistics.

The three statues will represent Robert Moses, Jesse Owens, and Jimi Hendrix. These giants of 20th century culture seemed the most potent representations of the history of Randall’s Island. Moses marks the island as a contentious site of urban planning and resource allocation. Owens and Hendrix stand for cultural milestones in athletics and music and the park as a place of performance.

Source images for the figures were selected from Internet image searches. The source files will be scaled up for halftone screen-print on the flat statues. When freely standing in the park, the statues should be immediately recognizable yet not readily nameable as historic figures. The cutout is an inverted or negative mask. As anonymous memorials, statues without faces present a figurative paradox, highlighting historical moments while erasing “great men” and opening the past and the park as a place for the viewer to play and perhaps complete the work.