Artists plan to install eight life-size sculptures of powerful women across New York
Rendering courtesy of Gillie and Marc
The husband-and-wife sculpture team Gillie and Marc have an ambitious plan to install bronze sculptures of powerful women throughout New York City beginning next year. Over 25 years, Gillie and Marc have completed over 100 commissions for sculptures in public places and businesses in more than 40 cities. (In New York, their work has been everywhere from Rockefeller Center to the Fulton Center, and they plan to install the world’s largest rhino sculpture in Manhattan next year.) But in all their commissions, they were shocked to find that only one was to celebrate a woman.
To help narrow the glaring gender gap in public monuments, the artists plan to install eight life-size bronze sculptures of powerful women across New York City as a public art exhibition. It’s set to debut in 2018, and until the public has a chance to vote on which women should be featured.
The women on the list include Michelle Obama (pictured above, as a suggested sculpture), Beyonce Knowles, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, and Oprah Winfrey. The exhibit will tour for one year to raise awareness about the gender gap. According to a press release, “Gillie and Marc hope to use the sculptures to raise awareness and start a conversation about gender inequality–each sculpture will be linked to a website where you can learn about these incredible women, facts about the issue and what you can do to help.” After the New York launch, they plan to then show the exhibit in other cities around the world.
Across New York City there are over 150 notable male statues and only five female statues–Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Harriet Tubman. The disparity has been in the news recently, as the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation announced it is moving ahead with a proposal to erect a monument to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in Central Park. It will be unveiled August 26, 2020, the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote nationally. Though Central Park has some statues of females, such as Alice in Wonderland, they are fictional characters. On the contrary, there are 23 statues of historical men.
Photo via Monumental Women
The nonprofit group called The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund, Inc. has been advocating and raising funds for the past several years to have that monument erected. After their hard work, the Parks Department committed to a monument that “highlights the need for a history that accurately tells women’s stories.”