Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gay Pride Weekend 2013 and Patricia Cronin's Memorial to a Marriage Reconsidered

Gay Pride March 2013, begins 11 am at Fifth Avenue and 36th St.

New York Arts Exchange salutes Gay Pride Weekend with a big shout out to the Supreme Court for striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, of 1996.  How wonderful to celebrate together this landmark decision.

With that in mind, I am thinking of Patricia Cronin's masterpiece Memorial to a Marriage (2002) and the significance of the work within the context of this new development.  Will it lose its transgressive edginess which galvanizes so much of Cronin's work?  Maybe . . .maybe not.  Only time will tell.

Once again, here is my review of the artist's exhibition "Bodies and Soul" which took place in Washington, DC in 2011


Patricia Cronin, Memorial to a Marriage, 2002 in bronze and marble.

Patricia Cronin: Bodies and SoulConner Gallery, Washington, DC , Febuary 4 - March 10, 2011

In July 2010, this blog celebrated the marriage of New York artists Patricia Cronin and Deborah Kass, whose long-time commitment inspired Cronin's sculpture Memorial to a Marriage, 2002, permanently installed in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.  The marble mortuary sculpture was meant to accomplish in death that which seemed - in 2002 -  impossible in life.

Now the exhibition of the bronze version of this sculpture, on view at Conner Gallery in Washington, DC, celebrates the transition of this artwork from depicting a dream to immortalizing reality. 

Memorial to a Marriage is based on Gustave Courbet's Sleepers or Sleep (1866)

Gustave Courbet, The Sleepers, 1866

and the American neoclassical tradition of the 19th century (Patricia Cronin studied and appropriated Harriet Hosmer's work for her exhibition Harriet Hosmer: Lost and Found  (June 2009-January 2010).

Harriet Hosmer, Beatrice Cenci, 1856.

We have in Cronin's sculpture what the artist calls "institutional critique."

For more information on Patricia Cronin's work, please visit her website:
And read her interview in Sculpture Magazine.

Vive l'amour et la passion,
Beth New York

aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.

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