Public Sculpture in New York City

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This course will examine trends that have informed the history of public sculpture in New York City, including commemoration of historical events, artistic and civic education for the masses, natural history in the service of the nation, and the cult of great men and women. We will also examine individual monuments such as Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s Farragut Monument (1880), Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty (1886), the sculptural programs of Central Park, Prospect Park, and Green-Wood Cemetery, the decorations of Rockefeller Center (including Paul Manship’s 1934 Prometheus and Lee Lawrie’s 1937 Atlas), Isamu Noguchi’s News (1940) and the sculpture garden he created at his Long Island City studio, and Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc (1978). Emphasis will be placed on reading works or art as primary texts; viewing sculpture, in local museums or in situ, will be a key component of the course.

2 credits

Course Code: HTA 282

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.