Sexist City Statue Should Be Toppled, Says Pol

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rep. Anthony Weiner is asking the city to remove a statue in Queens he said is offensive and sell it on Craigslist.

The Queens Congressman called the 20-foot high marble statue of a nude man standing over two women at the corner of Queens Blvd. and Union Turnpike "controversial and offensive." It was installed at the site in 1941 after Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia removed it from City Hall Park.

"I believe in art, I believe in public art," Weiner said. "But that doesn't mean that we don't have a right to say, forcefully, some art is simply offensive to us and we think it should go."

Weiner, who is urging the city to sell the statue on Craigslist, said the art is sexist. But not everyone agrees with the politician's interpretation.

“This is an allegory. This is a representation in the classical style,” said Glenn Urbanas, a resident who is also an architect. He said that the male figure represents civil virtue, while the two female figures are actually sirens that represent political corruption and vice. He thinks the statue should stay.

According to a spokesperson, the city is reviewing Weiner’s request.


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Comments [23]


And, now we all know that Rep. Weiner was simply upset because it wasn't a nude statue of HIM.

Jun. 08 2011 06:17 PM

I can understand why a corrupt politician such as Weiner would be intimidated by a statue depicting 'political corruption'. He wants as few reminders as possible of his political corruption. I don't think gov't should start censoring art.

Mar. 05 2011 04:41 PM
Heavydrop from NYc

I'm all for keeping the statue where it is.
But to the average person it does look like a nude guy with a sword ready to hack up a couple of women

Mar. 03 2011 01:01 PM

Clearly this is a tale of two Weiners.

Feb. 28 2011 11:34 PM
whatsayyou from London

the question is, would one be as offended if: it was some amazonian woman standing atop 2 men? OR even a woman standing on top of two women, OR a man standing on top of two men, OR any other variation thereof...

Feb. 28 2011 07:37 PM

Oh, boy. Okay, so the city is only allowed to show/have 3 story tall tulips--no one should be offended. Nothing wrong with public art that invokes discussion and conversation. Does EVERYTHING that does not conform to huge flowers need to be relegated to pay-per-view museum visits for sanctioned "explanations"? I don't buy it, and we need to allow all types of public art.

Feb. 27 2011 05:11 PM
Marcus Prtius Cato from Senate, Fori, Rome

Mr. Weiner certainly knowshow to pick his fights: when his party was looking for a viable candidate to contend Mike "Pluto" Bloomberg the permanent mayorocracy, he passed. Now that the world, and Queens, desperately need another moralizing culture battle, he's on the front line. Way to go, Weiner! And by the way, great journalism: all we know about the statue is that offended this pillar of moral virtue, Mr. Wiener. A functioning press, or lack thereof, is a big part of why we are where we are, as a society, today

Feb. 27 2011 11:28 AM
Jesse from New Haven

This is the exact sort of poorly chosen battle that gives inflammatory right-wing tv pundits their ammo. It's silly. Weiner is doing a terrible job of representing those of us on the left who rolled our eyes and grumbled when Ashcroft put robes on those (gasp) naked statues.

Feb. 27 2011 10:09 AM
snatdog from Lafayette

Isn't it just illustrating the rap song playing on my radio. "first I hit that ho knocking at the door and I said to the other stay down on the flo' ". It's not sexist, it's expressive of modern city values.

Feb. 27 2011 08:40 AM
Mike from NYC

With the world economy still staggering from the failure of government regulations, Middle-East oil states falling apart, and neo-fascism taking advantage of the crises to take over several state governments, it is somehow comforting to hear a politician spout criticism of a public monument that was created in an allegorical, classical visual language some people are too ignorant to understand. Can we expect that next week Mr. Weiner will begin a crusade to remove Huckleberry Finn from the public libraries?

Feb. 27 2011 08:19 AM
your mama from sacramento ca

Mr Weiner needs to see if his wife is ok with the statue because muslims are ok with stepping on women's rights.

Feb. 27 2011 04:33 AM
your mama from sacramento ca

Mr Weiner needs to see if his wife is ok with the statue because muslims are ok with stepping on women's rights.

Feb. 27 2011 04:32 AM
Barry Blitstein from New York City

There are voters for whom this sort of issue matters, and Weiner is catering to them. It won't lose him any votes, in any event. Pigeons don't vote.

Feb. 26 2011 11:31 PM
oscar from ny

bloomberg should personally carry it to Rep. Anthony Weiners house and both of them should masturbate to it.

Feb. 26 2011 11:25 PM
Eliot from Brooklyn

It misses the point of the allegory to equate sirens and vices, but I could see why some people might, taking this allegory in isolation, assume that male figures represent virtue and female figures temptation. But how can a New Yorker take this as an isolated instance of allegory when Liberty dominates the harbor, and Justice our courthouses? Female figures are used to represent civic virtues. And the sirens are easily counterbalanced by the muses.

Feb. 26 2011 03:50 PM
Jo from Downtown Manhattan

I tend to agree with Lyn Evans comment, such a crude 'allegory' in a public place in a world & city plagued by persistant sexism and violence towards women trumps the important value of non-governmental interference in the arts.
Perhaps it could be moved to a museum cortyard where it could be presented in context & for discussion with school groups etc.

Feb. 26 2011 03:24 PM
Joel Hubbard from Long Island

"Whenever I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my revolver." Now shut-up and smoke your last cigarette!

Feb. 26 2011 02:25 PM
oguz atay from NYC

How about putting a saggy pant on the statue?

Feb. 26 2011 01:17 PM
lyn evans

Thanks guys for your insight, however, the fact that the "vices" are depicted as female, speaks for its self.

Feb. 26 2011 01:14 PM

The fact that a supposedly well-educated man could completely misunderstand the concept of allegory is just sad. What's next?

Feb. 26 2011 12:44 PM
David from Staten Island, NY

It's not "sexist," it's allegory. Mr. Weiner really ought to know the difference. This is just silly.

Feb. 26 2011 12:34 PM
Paul J. Bosco from Manhattan

Oh, Anthony! How could you! You are one of my fire-in-the-belly heros --probably our next mayor-- but this is a serious misfire. Bush's first Attorney General, John Ashcroft, was widely considered an ass, for putting curtain in front of a Paul Jennewein statue of a bare-breasted Justice. But this is a GENTLE comparison. You are really taking a page from Jesse Helm's playbook.

--Also, I wish the article included the sculptor's name and the year the statue was made.

Feb. 26 2011 12:09 PM
MasterG from Harlem

Get rid of Marion Sims statue in Central Park. He wasn't a doctor; he was a sadistic butcher.

Feb. 26 2011 01:09 AM

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