Why Public statues still look this way in the 21st Century
A dated looking, ten foot bronze statue by American Artist, Chas Fagan depicting the former US president Ronald Reagan costing £800,000 was unveiled today to mark the centenary of his birth. Westminster City Council granted planning permission for the conservative President’s likeness to be erected outside the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square, despite their policy of not allowing memorials to people who have not been dead, for at least ten years.
The ceremony which was by no coincidence held on the 4th July was attended by The UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who unveiled the statue, representing the late president’s widow, Nancy Reagan. It is thought that lady Thatcher did not attend the event because of frail health,
The ten foot bronze figure was commissioned by the Reagan Memorial Fund Trust and is yet another example of unimaginative conservative public sculpture of the ilk that has been acceptable for the last millennium. Another similarly uninspired work was unveiled yesterday in Budapest, also to celebrate Mr Reagan’s 100th birthday..
Reagan famously described the Soviet Union as the “evil empire” and kept up a hardline strategy but he left the White House in January 1989, shortly before the collapse of communism. The statue of Mr Reagan will now stand alongside existing statues of other illustrious American presidents such as Dwight Eisenhower and Franklin D Roosevelt.
During the Cold War Reagan’s soaring rhetoric was often ridiculed at home. The NY Times termed his description of Soviet totalitarianism that he called, an “evil empire” a “dangerous doctrine.” Once dismissed as an amiable dunce and dangerous belligerent, the Gipper is now receiving some recognition for his contribution to the fall of the Iron Curtain. In our opinion, It would be better served to erect statues of the many brave leaders in the Eastern Block who stood up to the repressive Communist regimes, which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.Thatcher and Reagan just jumped on the bandwagon.
For almost 20 years, portrait artist, landscape painter and sculptor Chas Fagan has been creating internationally recognized works of art. A self-taught artist, he graduated from Yale University with a degree in Russian and East European Studies. While growing up in Brussels, he was artistically influenced by the works of European masters. This interest in traditional art, fuels his style but has added nothing new to the genre. I think this sums up Mr Fagan’s aspirations as an artist. it is a shame that little or no thought has been given to the selection of a significant contemporary artist for this or most public commissions.
Mr Reagan died in 2004, aged 93, after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for many years.