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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 43, October 24, 2010, Article 28

THE PUBLIC CAN'T KEEP ITS HANDS OFF THIS STATUE

It was designed by a sculptor, it's bronze and has a patina. It's not a coin or medal, though. It's a statue's, well... -Editor

Adam Statue The other day, Glyna Aderhold, a retired 67-year-old real estate broker from Nashville, was crossing the lobby of the mall at the Time Warner Center, the soaring castle of commerce and culture at Columbus Circle, when she passed a monumental bronze sculpture of a man and saw something that made her pause.

“I walked up and I was looking at his head and boom! This thing hits me right in the face,” Ms. Aderhold said.

The thing was the statue’s genitals, which are uncovered and at eye level to the adult viewer. She was being metaphorical. They didn’t actually strike Ms. Aderhold in the face. But they could have.

Ms. Aderhold kept walking, but all day long, shoppers and tourists alike stop at the bubble-figured 12-foot-tall Adam by the Colombian artist Fernando Botero that greets visitors and provides perhaps the most memorable Manhattan meeting spot since the clock in the Biltmore Hotel. And when they stop, they often touch, grasp, pat or rub the statue’s small but prominent penis, while a friend or relative takes a photo.

Most of Adam is a deep dark brown; his penis, though, is worn golden from extensive handling.

This is a maintenance issue at the mall. “We have an art dealer that comes in and redoes the patina from time to time,” said David Froelke, the center’s general manager, “but it doesn’t last very long.”

Around the world and throughout history, of course, people have rubbed statues for luck, from Abraham Lincoln’s nose in Illinois to Lou Costello’s shoe in Paterson, N.J., to the snout of the Porcellino boar in Florence to various parts of the charging bull of Wall Street.

Within half an hour on a late September afternoon, Adam’s organ drew a steady stream of visitors. First Graciela Fabres, 26, of West New York, N.J., parked her stroller and held her hand beneath the penis, palm up, as if presenting merchandise on “Let’s Make a Deal,” while her husband took her picture. A fiftysomething woman with blond hair and workout clothes grabbed it appraisingly, shook her head with a slight scowl, and walked on.

To read the complete article, see: An Attention-Getter, Irresistibly Interactive (cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/21/
an-attention-getter-irresistibly-interactive/)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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