Friday, November 19, 2010

10/11 Academic Decathlon The Great Depression Art Selection #5 - Muse of Music, Dance, Drama

Muse of Music, Dance, DramaGeorge Stanley, 1940, granite, 22'H x 220'W, Hollywood Bowl Association

George Stanley was a sculpture and sculpture teacher at the Otis Arts Institute in Los Angeles. His public sculptures are local landmarks of the city. With all that public exposure, he is known for his role as co-designer of the gold statuette known as the Oscar. Stanley's fountain and sculpture Muse of Music, Dance, Drama is a fitting monument in the city that has become an icon in the culture of entertainment.

Muse of Music

It achieves its height by following the curve of a hill which acts as a retaining wall outside the amphitheater. The overall design is very geometric. Flat panes contrast with a curved central pier and water cascades down concentric tiers. It is against this structure that the three muses stand - clean, elegant and solemn, they embody not only the history of Music, Dance and Drama, but also the Art Deco style. The figure at the top of the fountain is the Muse of Music, playing a harp that echoes the shape of the central pillar. As in early Greek sculpture, her figure has little detail and her face little individuality.

Greek Kore

Muse of Dance

The muses of Dance and Drama are in niches on either side of this main sculpture. Dance has a bent knee referencing the important contribution the Greeks made to sculpture, the contrapposto pose.

Kritios Boy

And Drama holds a tragedy mask in front of her face and a comedy mask across her chest alluding to the unpredictability of theater (and life!) - one minute you're down, the next minute you're up, especially in Hollywood! The style of Art Deco is known as an anonymous aesthetic because you do not see the individual style of the artist. The Hollywood Bowl is still a major venue for music, dance and drama performances. The city of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Bowl Association commissioned the work and collaborated with the WPA to fund it. The city is caring for this treasure and in 2006 made a restoration of the monument by repairing the fountain, the lighting system and replacing tiles. With such a location and tradition, the muses must look fabulous, dahling!

Muse of Drama

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