Saturday, January 23, 2016

Statuary Hall

When I was a kid my sister was assigned a project to make a blueprint of her dream house. And from that moment on, I was obsessed.

It was right around the time I first visited Hearst Castle, which also helped. I've been at least three, maybe four times, and don't tire of that colossal edifice. For the uninitiated, here it is:

It's kind of amazing. America doesn't have things like this. And I fell in love with it.

So began my fascination with blueprints and housing designs, galleries and museum exhibits. I designed 12-story mansions with roller coasters in the attic. I designed modest Victorians with menageries and stands of redwoods.  I designed natural history collections that would rival those of New York.

There were surely other influences. Dr. Seuss books are often just lists of fantastic things in disguise as stories. (Consider 'If I Ran the Circus', 'If I Ran the Zoo', and 'McElligot's Pool'.)

Now, here I am, 29 years old, and my students are working on self-guided projects.

This means they put on headphones, watch videos, and work at their own pace. It's great for what they're doing. But it is boring as sin for me, sitting there hour after hour, watching them work.

And that's what prompted me to design a statuary hall. There are a few of these already. Most notably there is the National Statuary Hall, wherein each State chooses two notables to represent them in the halls of Congress. A more dated collection is the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, which is a weird and seemingly arbitrary collection of busts in the Bronx.

Bored at my desk I thought: why not make my own, of people I find inspiring, interesting, or influential? and with that the youthful passion was reignited.

Here below you can find the fruits of this labor. In my mind each person is depicted by a bust, and is laid out in blue-print fashion the way the exhibit would look. Placement of busts is intentional, and not arbitrary. It took a couple of days. As far as productivity goes, I make no comment. Please note that the last 50, in green, are international people who would need to have a place in my hall of influences. Also note only people from the American era (1776- onwards) were considered, leaving out the colonial-types. The date cutoff also applies to international influences (no Socrates or Cervantes). The red walls are informational.

First, the blueprint:

And the list of names:

1.      John Muir
2.      Dorothea Lange
3.      Benjamin Franklin
4.      Jeanette Rankin
5.      Liliuokalani and Kamehameha
6.      Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger
7.      Abraham Lincoln
8.      Frederick Douglass
9.      Robert H. Jackson
10.  Diane Fossey
11.  Julia Butterfly Hill
12.  Cesar Chavez
13.  Louis Comfort Tiffany
14.  Ray Charles
15.  Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and Lenny Bruce
16.  WEB Du Bois
17.  Martha Graham
18.  Winsor McCay
19.  Allen Ginsburg
20.  George Marshall
21.  Tecumseh
22.  Harriet Tubman
23.  Saul Alinsky
24.  Penn Jillette, Teller, and James Randi
25.  Joseph Henry
26.  Paul Tillich
27.  Nellie Bly
28.  Woodrow Wilson
29.  Susan B. Anthony
30.  Julia Morgan
31.  Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman
32.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton
33.  Norman Borlaug
34.  Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein
35.  Booker T. Washington
36.  Joan Didion
37.  Upton Sinclair
38.  Ansel Adams
39.  Ishi
40.  Hunter S. Thompson
41.  Martin Luther King Jr.
42.  Geronimo
43.  John Dewey
44.  Langston Hughes
45.  Stephen Mather
46.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
47.  Zitkala-Sa
48.  Samuel Gompers
49.  Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein
50.  Thomas Paine
51.  Eleanor Roosevelt
52.  Thomas Jefferson
53.  Jim Henson
54.  Herman Melville
55.  Ralph Bunche
56.  Bernie Sanders
57.  Chester Nimitz
58.  John Wesley Powell
59.  Alice Paul
60.  Jared Diamond
61.  Miles Davis and John Coltrane
62.  Thomas Nast
63.  Dolores Huerta
64.  Helen Keller
65.  Harry Houdini
66.  John Brown
67.  Harvey Milk
68.  Jane Addams
69.  Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacajawea
70.  Warren Burger
71.  Willard Libby
72.  Eugene Debs
73.  Ida B. Wells
74.  Dwight Eisenhower
75.  Henry David Thoreau
76.  Rachel Carson
77.  Earl Warren
78.  Robert Ingersoll
79.  Walter Reuther
80.  Norton I
81.  Frank Lloyd Wright
82.  Margaret Sanger
83.  Theodore Roosevelt
84.  Nat Turner
85.  Gene Sharp
86.  Frank Gehry
87.  Barrack Obama
88.  John Jay
89.  Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla
90.  Bob Dylan
91.  Daniel Webster
92.  Claire Patterson
93.  Clarence Darrow
94.  Sitting Bull
95.  William Jennings Bryan
96.  Jesse Owens
97.  Daniel Boone
98.  Thomas Hunt Morgan
99.  John F. Kennedy
100. Will Eisner
101. Louis Armstrong
102. Horace Mann
103. Flannery O’Connor
104. Alexander Hamilton
105. Walt Disney
106. Amadeo Giannini
107. Grace Hopper
108. Sequoyah
109. John Singer Sargent
110. Rosa Parks
111. Lyndon B. Johnson
112. David Sarnoff
113. Helen Gurley Brown
114. Walter Cronkite
115. Jonas Salk
116. Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe
117. James Madison
118. Aaron Copland
119. Duke Ellington
120. Thurgood Marshall
121. Jacob Riis
122. Amelia Earhart
123. Edward R. Murrow
124. Stanley Kubrick
125. John James Audubon
126. Chief Joseph
127. Louis Brandeis
128. James Brown
129. Edwin Hubble and Milton Humason
130. Emma Goldman
131. Ulysses S. Grant
132. Elie Wiesel
133. Ralph Waldo Emerson
134. Sergey Brin and Larry Page
135. Betty Friedan
136. John Marshall
137. Scott Joplin
138. John Adams
139. Neill Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins
140. Robert Reich
141. Charles Merrill
142. Fred Korematsu
143. Mark Twain
144. Enrico Fermi and Albert Einstein
145. Joan Baez
146. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
147. George Washington
148. Clara Barton
149. John J. Pershing
150. Daisy Bates

1.      Jean Piaget
2.      Nelson Mandela
3.      Ludwig van Beethoven
4.      Alexis de Tocqueville
5.      Marquis de Lafayette and Thaddeus Kosciuszko
6.      Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy
7.      Ai WeiWei
8.      Shunryu Suzuki
9.      Jose Marti
10.  Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru
11.  George Eliot
12.  Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre
13.  John Maynard Keynes
14.  Mary Wollstonecraft
15.  Dag Hammarskjold
16.  Mikhail Gorbachev
17.  Lewis Carroll
18.  Hayao Miyazaki
19.  Jorge Luis Borges
20.  Aung San Suu Kyi
21.  William Morris
22.  Christopher Hitchens and Charlie Brooker
23.  Claude Debussy
24.  William Wordsworth
25.  Igor Stravinsky
26.  William von Humboldt
27.  Erwin Schrodinger and Werner Heisenberg
28.  Andrei Sakharov
29.  Toussaint Louverture
30.  Immanuel Kant
31.  Salvador Dali
32.  George Harrison, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney
33.  Federico Fellini
34.  Ludwig Wittgenstein
35.  Sun Yat Sen
36.  Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung
37.  AS Neill
38.  Simon Bolivar
39.  Mustafa Kemal
40.  Charles Darwin
41.  Soren Kierkegaard
42.  Hannah Arendt
43.  Winston Churchill
44.  Virginia Woolf
45.  Pablo Picasso
46.  James Burke
47.  Hans Christian Oersted, James Clerk Maxwell, and Michael Faraday
48.  Ludwig Quidde
49.  Alan Turing
50.  Kwame Nkrumah

You're welcome.

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