Commonwealth Avenue Mall – 6/11/11

Played Boston tourist  – Boston By Ralph. With a list of 100+ sculptures in Boston, and printouts on the story behind each sculpture, the person/event depicted, the artist, etc., we started at #1 – the statue of Leif Erikson at Comm. Ave & Charlesbank.  Leif is gazing across the traffic towards Kenmore Square, a top a rock that some prominent Bostonians said he landed on near Norumbega (not Nova Scotia) in 1000 AD. Largely debunked, but those Bostonians preferred the notion that the Americas were discovered by a Viking convert to Protestantism, rather than Catholic Columbus. Can’t we all just get along? 

Our approach – walk around the statue, read a short description, then sit on a nearby bench (under umbrellas) to read the detailed history, then examine the statue again. Learned SO much!

Fascinating history, enjoyable art, including the architecture on either side of Comm. Ave. Met Dinah & Dan for lunch and cocktails at The Met Bar – lemonade with peach vodka for me. We continued on down Comm Ave, through the Public Garden (Washington in a Bruins jersey) to Common and train home.  Missed the Gay Pride parade, but saw a lot of the paraders leaving town.

10:00 am – 4:00 pm, and we did maybe 15 statues plus lunch. I think this “100 Sculptures” plan will take many, many days & evenings.


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Daniel said,

    Awesome! Great Idea, and now that I’ve seen what you’ve done, I like it even more! Art, History, and all the glory of Ozymandias’ beautiful ephemerality. These are some really fine pieces of art. Because they’re in public places… does that make them… graffiti?
    I especially like the combination of Learning looking down, and Religion looking up.

    • 2

      halperns said,

      Not Ozymandias’ “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair” but more of a “look on my ideals, ye Meek, and be inspired.” So many of these statues commemorate ideas and ideals of human rights and dignity, of living up to our better natures. I never realized how many leaders of the abolitionist movement were Boston-based – and we haven’t even gotten to the statue in the Public Garden of vehement anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner, who was nearly beaten to death by a fellow congressman. Hmm… grafitti? Not if you have permission of the owner to put your artwork in that spot!

  2. 3

    Ralph said,

    Hi, all. Ralph here. A great resource for walking Boston is

    We carried these 2 documents:

    Plus there is lots of info in Wikipedia and elsewhere about the subjects of the statues and their sculptors. A neat way to learn history – local and national.

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