In line with the new Global Corporate Spreadsheet, formerly the Wharton Global Spreadsheet (local-USA), and the emerging global culture thing ongoing, I was taken aback when I learned that Bank of America came in and gilded the Statue of Diana at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
I called this “cultural rape” in comments on a the history blog below mainly because Diana in her salvaged state is the image I saw all my life from childhood onward and therefore it was imprinted on me as “questionable art” if not “decorative art” considering its varied history and usage in the past 125 years since its creation and or variation, adaption of creation by the famous gilded age sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens as a decorative weather vane on the second Madison Square Garden 1890-1925.
After some months, I stand by my decision that this is cultural rape by a commercial bank in a global cultural sense on the art museum in Philly - it is still an abomination. Piss on the commodity vision of art by capitalism.
Comment by Mike McShea
...Been following the story of the Philly Diana for decades, being a native of Philly now living in Gotham for close to forty years. Ran into your original article recently about the – about to re-gild story while amateur researching some other forgotten items, lost architectural NYC treasures of that so-called gilded age.
Now in catching up on some modern things such as this recent unveiling of Diana Regilt at the PMA, the thought occurs to me that this is somehow cultural rape of a native Philly Icon. Coming from an old geezer, nobody will care what I think of all this. Considering that Philly bought her as scrap and for the price of scrap at thirty eight dollars, the true re-gilding I would think is in the revisionist art history of her.
I suppose it is only a matter of time before some other philanthropic or publicity starved banking interest puts arms back on the Venus de Milo in the Louvre and why not throw in a nose ring and tattoos while they are at it.
...She was art to me as a little boy over half a century ago with her mere green patina. My POV is that yes she had gilt on the top of MSGII but she was a mere replica of the original bronze piece on top of the too big and too heavy to be a weather vane statue that McKim Meade and White moved to their Agriculture Building at the Columbian Exposition and later lost in the fire of July 1894. The Philly Diana was art as she was salvaged and placed in her niche in the PMA just like the Venus de Milo in the Louvre.
Outsiders with money have now decided she wasn’t art unless gilt. Art and beauty are truly in the eyes of the beholder. Now she is too loud in her once quiet niche. “Look at Me!” Maybe a coat of Neon Green Paint to jazz up the natural stones of the PMA main staircase is needed as well.