Mar 24, 2007

"The Awakening"

If you have ever taken a boat trip on the Potomac river around Washington DC, you can't help but notice the giant arms and legs sticking out of the ground right at the tip of the East Potomac Park, well thats a cast iron sculpture by J. Seward Johnson Jr. it was put there in 1980 as part of a Sculpture Exhibition, though the theme of the sculpture (awakening giant) is quite different from that of the other monuments, memorials and sculptures found in DC, but it does stay true to the newer era of memorials that are designed not just to aggrandize a person or an event but to make it easy for on lookers to interact, examples being the FDR memorial, Vietnam memorial and more recently World War 2 memorial.

I wonder what is Mr. Seward Johnson's thought process, a mythical giant from someone who sculpts in realism. I for one see something full of nuance, so many things are being said in so many ways.

Here is an interesting (but extremely rushed) take on Washington DC tourism 36 Hours in Washington, D.C.

1 comments: said...

Dear Mr. Yusufi,

Thank you for your email. As the artist's curator I will inquire with Seward Johnson if he would comment personally on your blog.

As regards the "meaning" or interpretation of the sculptor's intention, Mr. Johnson has been very clear about what he desires. He wishes everyone who sees the piece to use their unique imaginations and intuition to interpret what the sculpture means specifically to them. We have heard everything from the giant rising in anger at world pollution to the giant sinking after having been conquered. It is most artist's ideal to inspire creative thought in those who view his/her works.

Technical data includes that the work is in five separate pieces and cast in aluminum. It was first sited by the National Park Service in l980. The piece is l7 feet at its tallest point and 70 feet in breadth.

Mr. Johnson is very proud of this piece of sculpture and appreciates that so many people from all over the globe go to see it. It is one of his favorite works of his collection of over 200 different sculptures.

Warm regards,

P. Stoeke