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California: Stanford University - Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University - Gay Liberation | by wallyg
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California: Stanford University - Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University - Gay Liberation

In 1979, pop sculptor George Segal was commissioned by the Mildred Andrews Fund, a private Cleveland-based foundation that supports public art, to create a work that would commemorate New York City's Stonewall Rebellion, the 1969 riot that marks the beginning of the modern gay liberation movement. The result was the first piece of public art commemorating the struggle of GLBTG people for equality, predating Amsterdam's "Homomonument" by some seven years.

 

The sculpture, a life-like, life-size bronze group, painted white, depicts four figures: a standing male couple and a seated female couple. One of the men holds the shoulder of his partner; one of the seated women gently touches her friend's thigh. The poses are non-dramatic, but quietly powerful, suggesting depths of love and companionship.

 

The idea for a sculpture to honor the gay and lesbian rights movement on the tenth anniversary of Stonewall originated with Bruce Voeller, co-founder and first executive director of the National Gay Rights Task Force and the founder of the Mariposa Foundation. The plan was to create two castings--one for New York City's Sheridan Park, near the site of the Stonewall Inn, and one in Los Angeles. However local residents opposed the plans for the installation. Instead the sculpture was installed at Stanford University, where after just a month it was attacked with a ball-peen hammer. After being repaired, it was reinstalled only to be spray painted with the word AIDS, and vandalized again in 1994 with splattered black paint. In 1992 New York City finally agreed to place the statue in Christopher Park, where it was dedicated on June 23.

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Taken on September 11, 2009