Police memorial

This essay has a total of 1328 words and 6 pages.

police memorial






Throughout Battery Park, in downtown New York City, the sculpture I found to be most
intriguing is the New York City Police Memorial, by Stuart B. Crawford. Memorials and
monuments create solid, deeper meaning to the public. This is because memorials contain
certain information, which is clear to the viewers. This New York Police Memorial serves
as a constant reminder of the officers who have past away serving the people of the city.
The emotion that this piece emits is very different compared to sculptures by Alexander
Calder or Ned Smythís The Upper Room which therefore produce a different kind of
interaction of the audience and the piece. In my analysis, I will have a well thought out
argument on the reactions of the public to works of public art. I will discus how the
Police Memorialís historical background and how it was developed. I will furthermore
provide a formal description of the Memorial and how the work functions.

When an artist displays a work of art in a public place he or she must take into
consideration many different aspects before making the structure. The degree of
interaction that may take place between the public and the work of art is well thought out
by the artists. The artist considers what the piece is portraying and the purpose of
making art. At the same time, different types of people are attracted to art in different
ways. In this case, viewers are either fascinated by the work, reminded of the deceased,
taught a lesson or simply admire the work of art. The reaction of this piece by the public
ranges greatly, I witness people interacting with the work to eat their lunch or read a
book, as well as people walking by it without noticing it.

Memorials are meant to function as a constant reminder of the people that served the
nation in some way and who have died while doing so. This is comparable to cemeteries in
a way that it is for people to remember the ones that passed away. Monuments on the other
hand, are meant to celebrate life or victory instead of celebrating the dead. They are
similar though, in that they both unite the nation as one by bringing the people as
viewers. Both monuments and memorials convey greater meanings than other works of public
art, because they are functional works of art that operate as an emotional stimulant.
They usually have names, dates or sometimes a little passage on the piece that explains
the workís purpose.

There are other public works of art that are also functional. For example, The Upper Room,
by Ned Smyth. This is a structure that has chairs and tables, which are created in a very
beautiful, pastel colored mosaic. Itís a called a room because it act as an "interior
room" although it is part of the exterior environment. A series of columns separates it
from the surroundings. People are attracted by the soft pinkish colors and the very
elaborate glass and stone mosaics. People go there to eat their lunch, relax, read a
book, or just to enjoy the view of the water. Sometimes children go there and pretend the
sculpture as a castle or some enchanted site that they imagine. The artist wanted to make
a place for the people to come together; to commune and interact with one another. It is
a place for the community to take time to relax and to break free from their busy
schedule. Where as the Police Memorial is not as brightly colored because it is made to
mourn the dead. The sculpture is much more private, and does not attract many viewers.
There is a bench for people to sit, but the reactions of the public of these two pieces
are clearly different.

In comparing the Police Memorial to the works done by Alexander Calder, a sculptor of
mid-twentieth century, I find that his works were more playful and pleasing to the eye.
He made large metal, mobile-like pieces that stand outside buildings. His purpose behind
the pieces were simpler, it was more a study of forms, shapes, color and balance. So
people are attracted to the sculpture because it is a definition of what Art is. Thus
they can relate structures like these more to art then the Police Memorial. Calderís
pieces do not function like Smythís and Crawford's.

I will now discuss the historical background of the New York City Police Memorial.
Governor Pataki, says that "this memorial is a symbol of our eternal gratitude to these
courage officers, and their families." The city of New York felt that such a structure
was to be made to honor the five hundred seventy New York City Police Officers killed in
the line of duty since 1854. On 1989 a committee comprised of various NYPD shield groups
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