Friday, August 31, 2012

Ninteen* (for Nineteen*)

Returning to Albany by car on the lovely Taconic Parkway the other day, we were momentarily startled by a gigantic gleaming female visage gazing down at us on the right. (There wasn't even time to form the initialisms OMG, WTF, etc., but that was certainly what was going through our own puny heads.) It turns out this ghostly apparition is actually a nineteen-foot cement sculpture called "Gaia" or "Mother Earth," created by the "self-taught sculptor" Roy Kanwit as part of a "whimsical sculpture garden," according to a 2001 article in the New York Times. "The inside of the head is hollow and has a wooden ladder leading to an opening on top with panoramic views of the countryside," writes the Times. "Think of the Statue of Liberty without the crown." The statue was completed in 1996 after two years' work. Kanwit estimates that about 2,500 people each year pull off the highway in order to inspect the sculpture up close and to visit the rest of the gallery. In keeping with the outsized nature of the colossal head upon the hill, we retrieved an impressive 140 hits in OhioLINK on today's typo, while WorldCat had "too many records found for your search." So let's not be ninnies and miss this opportunity to look for Ninteen* in our own catalogs as well.

(Gaia Head in Spencertown, New York, by permission of the photographer.)

Carol Reid

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