Boston Women's Memorial, by Meredith Bergmann
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Boston Women’s Memorial

2003, Commonwealth Ave. & Fairfield St. Boston, MA
bronze and granite, pavement 30’ diameter, figures 1.2 times life size

Commissioned for Boston’s historic Back Bay, commemorating Abigail Adams, Phillis Wheatley & Lucy Stone for their writing and their impact on society.  The women have come down off their pedestals (as in this century women have, symbolically) and have deconstructed their traditional orientation in order to use their pedestals as work surfaces.

photo © Ricardo Barros.com

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Boston Women’s Memorial 2

2003, Commonwealth Avenue & Fairfield Street, Boston, MA
bronze and granite, pavement 30’ diameter, figures 1.2 times life size

In order to represent Women, each figure embodies a different stage of life and a different creative temperament: Active, Contemplative and Imaginative.

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Lucy Stone

Boston Women’s Memorial
2003
bronze
63” x 65” x 42”

Stone, renowned as a marvelous orator for abolition and women’s rights, represents Activism. She is portrayed in middle age, when she moved to Boston and founded The Woman’s Journal.

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Boston Women’s Memorial 3

2003, bronze,
63” x 65” x 42”

The three figures, each surrounded by the words for which she is famous, create a space in which a visitor may compare their ideas and actions to form a larger picture of the possibilities for and demands of a heroic female life.

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Lucy Stone 2

Boston Women’s Memorial
2003
bronze
63” x 65” x 42”

“Let woman’s sphere be bounded only by her capacity.”
Women’s Rights Convention, Worcester, MA 1851

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Abigail Adams

Boston Women’s Memorial
2003
bronze
75” x 33” x 21”

Adams, presidential advisor and correspondent, represents old age and Contemplation. She is looking back over her life’s work and influence and perhaps challenging us to do the same.

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Abigail Adams 2

Boston Women’s Memorial
2003
bronze
75” x 33” x 21”

“So rapid have been the changes, that the mind, though fleet in its progress, has been outstripped by them; and we are left like statues, gazing at what we can neither fathom nor comprehend.”
Letter to Mercy Otis Warren, 1807

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Abigail Adams 3

Boston Women’s Memorial
2003
bronze
75” x 33” x 21”

“Remember that all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound be any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”
Letter to John Adams, Mar. 31, 1776

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Phillis Wheatley

Boston Women’s Memorial
2003
bronze
59” x 50” x 32

Wheatley, a slave in colonial Boston, was our first published African-American poet. Her pose is derived from the the only extant image of her, a profile portrait engraved for the frontispiece of her book of poetry.

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Phillis Wheatley 3

Boston Women’s Memorial
2003
bronze
59” x 50” x 32

On her pedestal:
I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate

Was snatched from Afric’s fancy’d happy seat:
What pangs excruciating must molest,
What sorrows labour in my parent’s breast?
Steel’d was that soul and by no misery moved
That from a father seized his babe belov’d:
Such, such my case. And can I then but pray
Others may never feel tyrannic sway?

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Phillis Wheatley 2

Boston Women’s Memorial
2003
bronze
59” x 50” x 32

Here, Wheatley represents youth and Imagination. A stanza from her poem On Imagination is inscribed on her pedestal, ending with visionary imaginative power and freedom:
There in one view we grasp the mighty whole,
Or with new worlds amaze the unbounded soul.

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September 11th: A Memorial for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

2012
bronze, steel, glass, fragments from the rubble of the World Trade Towers,  78” x 22” x 24” (bronze: 39” height)

In 2011 on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, my 18″ sculpture of this figure was exhibited at the Cathedral and I was commissioned to create a monumental version that could incorporate fragments from the Towers that had been brought to the Cathedral in 2001.

 

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September 11th: A Memorial for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine 2

2012
bronze, steel, glass, fragments from the rubble of the World Trade Towers
78” x 22” x 24”

The reliquary pedestal’s beveled corners and angled top are based on the design of the World Trade Towers.

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September 11th: A Memorial for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine 3

2012
bronze, steel, glass, fragments from the rubble of the World Trade Towers
78” x 22” x 24”

Inside the reliquary base are pieces of concrete, a tangle of metal reinforcing rods and a shred of Victoria’s Secret lingerie from a store on the concourse. This shred was a terribly poignant reminder that so much that is intimate was exposed, so much that is life-affirming was killed, so much that is instinctive was attacked.

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September 11th: A Memorial for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine 4

2012 bronze, steel, glass, fragments from the rubble of the World Trade Towers
78” x 22” x 24”

This had to be a sculpture of a human being that had absorbed and survived an attack, wounded but alive, unlike the dynamited Bamiyan Buddha statues and so many other universal cultural treasures.

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September 11th: A Memorial for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine 5

2012
bronze, steel, glass, fragments from the rubble of the World Trade Towers
78” x 22” x 24”

 

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HISTORIA TESTIS TEMPORUM: Pinky 2

cast resin, 2010, 48” x 48” x 18”

The scale of HISTORIA TESTIS TEMPORUM: Pinky matches the giant terracotta portraits of European cultural heroes surrounded by American plants that ornament the Brooklyn Historical Society’s 1880 building.

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HISTORIA TESTIS TEMPORUM: Pinky 3

2010
cast resin,
48” x 48” x 18”

Sally Maria Diggs (“Pinky”) is framed by a wreath of poison ivy, an American plant which, like racism, makes us suffer needlessly for our skin.

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HISTORIA TESTIS TEMPORUM: Pinky

2010
cast resin
48” x 48” x 18”

Created for the Brooklyn Historical Society. The BHS archive contains the bill of sale for “Pinky,” who in 1860, at 9 years old, was the first of a series of pale-skinned female slaves whom the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher “auctioned” to his congregation to buy their freedom.

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Labor in Massachusetts

2009, bronze
60” x 36” x 2”

Commissioned by the State of Massachusetts for the State House, Boston and sponsored by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Depicting over 100 figures, the plaque commemorates the life and death of former AFL president Edward Cohen (who was shot to death by a maniac in the governor’s office in 1907) by focusing on the struggles of working families over 175 years. The helix of marching figures depicts every important labor event in MA history.

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Labor in Massachusetts 2

2009, bronze
60” x 36” x 2”

Labor leaders, including Edward Cohen, witness the enactment of historic legislation.

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Labor in Massachusetts 3

2009, bronze
60” x 36” x 2”

Families face martial law in the Lawrence, MA textile workers strike.

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Labor in Massachusetts 4

2009, bronze
60” x 36” x 2”

This famous slogan, used by the women of the 1912 textile workers strike in Lawrence, MA, came from a 1911 poem by James Oppenheim.

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Marian Anderson

2006
bronze
96” x 40” x 42”

Commissioned by Converse College in Spartanburg, SC to honor the world-famous contralto, Civil Rights icon, United Nations delegate and good-will ambassador Marian Anderson, 1897- 1993.

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Marian Anderson 2

2006
bronze
96” x 40” x 42”

I tried to convey her beauty, dignity and radiant energy, to show her at an ideal time of life but hint at her youth and age, and to portray her singing with its many moods and vast range.

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Marian Anderson 3

2006
bronze
96” x 40” x 42”

Rather than evoke a regal, motionless beacon as she sometimes appeared on stage, I set her body in swirling motion, urging the viewer to walk around her and experience the statue through time, like music.

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Marian Anderson 4

2006
bronze
96” x 40” x 42”

 

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Sketch for Marian Anderson

2004
pencil on paper
12″ x 9″

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Clay sketch for Marian Anderson

2005
clay
33” x 18” x 14”

Anderson often sang with her eyes closed, her voice alone conveying her suffering or her bliss.

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Marian Anderson 5

2006: enlargement in progress

 

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Rosa Parks

2009
bronze
22” x 9” x 12”

Rosa Parks was a professional seamstress, and this is the suit, perhaps one she’d made, that she wears, along with this uncompromising expression, in her mug shot. This bronze is in the collection of the Architect of the U.S. Capitol.

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Rosa Parks 2

2009
bronze
22” x 9” x 12”

The pose is also based on statues of ancient Egyptian queens. Carved from massive blocks of stone in which they are still partially embedded, these female pharaohs look as if they will never give up their seats.

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Rosa Parks 3

2009
bronze
22” x 9” x 12”

“I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
Rosa Parks

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Memorial to Countee Cullen

1995
cast polymer cement
72” x 54” x 26

Installed in the Countee Cullen branch of the New York Public Library. Cullen, in middle age, contemplates a marble bust of himself as a young, idealized poet wearing a traditional laurel wreath. Both “marble” and “bronze” are made of cement, evoking the “rare earth” in his poem on the sculpture’s base.

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Memorial to Countee Cullen 2

1995
cast polymer cement
72” x 54” x 26

The pedestal is inscribed with quotations from Countee Cullen’s poetry. On this side, in its entirety, is his famous “Incident.”

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Memorial to Countee Cullen 3

1995
cast polymer cement
72” x 54” x 26

The memorial was originally commissioned by the Bronx Council on the Arts and Woodlawn Cemetery for a year-long exhibition in Woodlawn Cemetery, where the poet Countee Cullen is buried. Cullen holds a copy of his first book of poetry, “Color.”

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Memorial to Countee Cullen 4

1995
cast polymer cement
72” x 54” x 26

Dead men alone are satiate;
They sleep and dream and have no weight,
To curb their rest, of love or hate.
Strange, men should flee their company,
Or think me strange who long to be
Wrapped in their cool immunity.
Countee Cullen

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Alma Mater (statue)

Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Talladega, AL
bonded marble, unique cast 1997
54” x 40” x 48”

The figure is signing the word “Sight” and reading in Braille the word “Hearing”

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Alma Mater

Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Talladega, AL
bonded marble, bonded bronze, concrete 1997
90” x 96” x 96”

A commission from AIDB for their Helen Keller School for multi-handicapped children. The figure is signing the word “Sight” and reading in Braille the word “Hearing”. On her pedestal, which has steps in the back, are 5 bas-reliefs depicting the 5 senses. The monument is designed to be touched and climbed on.

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Alma Mater (detail: Sight)

Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Talladega, AL
bonded bronze, unique cast, 1997
each: 24” x 36” x 3”

From a series of the Five Senses for the pedestal of Alma Mater: although wind, sun and cloud-shadows can be felt on the skin, the moon must be seen.

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Alma Mater (detail: Touch)

Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Talladega, AL
bonded bronze, unique cast, 1996
24” x 36” x 3”

From a series of the Five Senses for the pedestal of Alma Mater: designed to be touched and “read” by touch, the sculpted hands are life size and almost full-round, and the background texture is made with thumbprints.

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Alma Mater (detail: Hearing)

Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Talladega, AL
bonded bronze, unique cast, 1997
24” x 36” x 3”

From a series of the Five Senses for the pedestal of Alma Mater: portraits of students in the AIDB Helen Keller School Choir.

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Alma Mater (detail)
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Growing Up

Aquaresin cast, edition of 8, 1992
60” x 72” x 3”

An allegory of growing up, learning and creating. Below, small children are being trained to behave by adults who take the form of animals. Two trees provide a way to climb, through play, out of childhood into a world of imagination. There, children try on the wind and planets, slay difficult questions, sculpt clouds, fly on poems and sketchbooks, and conduct the music of the spheres.

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Growing Up 2

Aquaresin cast, edition of 8, 1992
60” x 72” x 1”

On either side, like portraits of donors in a medieval triptych, are two larger figures of a girl and boy trying to figure out how to grow up. In this section “Impatience” consults a clock that doesn’t help. It reads: After, Before, Then and Now.

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Growing Up 3

Aquaresin cast, edition of 8, 1992
60” x 72” x 1”

 

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The Little Soldier

reinforced modified concrete, gold leaf, 1990
96” x 72” x 48”

A monument to ordinary bravery, created as a temporary installation with the New York City Parks Department, now in a corporate collection.

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Traffic Frieze

Vatican Casting Stone, directly applied and carved, 1981-2
frieze: 23 ft. long – each panel: 20” x 28” x 5”

The Ten Commandments as a traffic jam. Created for temporary public installation (with a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and sponsored by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) at 10 on 8: 10 display windows in a municipal garage on 8th Avenue, NYC.  Now in a corporate collection.

photo by Paul Warchol

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Traffic Frieze (detail, Panel #1: Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me)

Vatican Casting Stone, directly applied and carved, 1981-2
frieze: 23 ft. long – each panel: 20” x 28” x 5”

The Ten Commandments as a traffic jam. Created for temporary public installation (with a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and sponsored by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) at 10 on 8: 10 display windows in a municipal garage on Eighth Avenue, NYC. Now in a corporate collection.

photo by Paul Warchol

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Traffic Frieze: Panel #5: Thou Shalt Not Kill

Vatican Casting Stone, directly applied and carved, 1981-2
frieze: 23 ft. long – each panel: 20” x 28” x 5”

The Ten Commandments as a traffic jam. Created for temporary public installation (with a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and sponsored by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) at 10 on 8: 10 display windows in a municipal garage on Eighth Avenue, NYC. Now in a corporate collection.

photo by Paul Warchol

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Traffic Frieze: Panel #7: Thou Shalt Not Covet

Vatican Casting Stone, directly applied and carved, 1981-2
frieze: 23 ft. long – each panel: 20” x 28” x 5”

Urban coveting of cars, partners and larger apartments.
The Ten Commandments as a traffic jam. Created for temporary public installation (with a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and sponsored by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) at 10 on 8: 10 display windows in a municipal garage on Eighth Avenue, NYC. Now in a corporate collection.

photo by Paul Warchol