About this image: We all have a conception of beauty that is both individual and socially contingent. Having acquired a taste for male beauty with a determinately classic Greek slant (feel free to blame Louvre’s collections of antique sculptures for the bias, if you will), leave it to the new world to unsettle one’s discreetly cultivated status quo.
This particular New York “monument” challenged my preconceptions of what ought to be included in that category (of beauty, rather than Greek sculpture). This male specimen does share something with his classic predecessors: a disregard for actual human proportions. Just as the ancient sculptors used an “ideal” model for their art, often at odds with reality, so did the present artist. Although I believe that while the first promoted a particular vision of beauty, the latter attempts to do the reverse. It questions ideas that would otherwise remain fixed.
What I particularly like about this photo is the fact that not only the statue, but its two onlookers became part of the narrative. It was their discussion of the piece that prompted me to stop and reflect.