I was touched by a post written by art critic Mary Louise Schumacher, who blogged about the disappearance of a beloved frieze on the facade of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper building, where she works.
The 1920s sculpture told the grand narrative of news and its dissemination. Created by artist Arthur Weary, who Schumacher was unable to find much information about, it was carved out of Kasota stone from Minnesota, and will no longer welcome the newspaper’s employees — who probably deserve a reminder now and again about the importance of what they do.
I had to turn to our archives to learn more about it, where I found artist renderings and newspaper clippings. As it turns out, the artist didn’t share his tale with journalistic brevity. He tried to tell it all. Starting with the dawn of man and the “stone carvings of prehistoric beasts” and ending up at the then-modern newspaper, the narrative also featured the “vain rumors” of “primitive peoples,” the smoke signals of the ancient Hebrews, carrier pigeons, town criers, chatty sailors and the pony express, among other things. Gutenberg was the climax of the story, rather than its origins, as you might expect.
It made me think of all the other artistic monuments, murals and objects that disappear everyday and never receive a single blog, tweet or mention at all.
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