Saturday, May 21, 2011

Memorial Bridge - Aurora

I finally made it to Aurora, Illinois
to see the statuary
that Emory Seidel
made for the New York Street Memorial Bridge.

(above is a contemporary adaptation
by Marisa Karolek
as a bottle label for a local winery )

It's a bit sad looking,
as would be appropriate
in a memorial to soldiers
who died in the First World War.

And the elements are not kind to cast concrete.

But the funereal mood
has been completely blown away
by the casino that's been built
on the upstream side of the bridge.

That's another one of Seidel's statues,
that's been framed by the facade.

I suppose this figure
was originally intended
to be laying a wreath
in honor of the fallen.

But now she represents
Lady Luck.

Here's a smaller version that was accepted into the Chicago and Vicinity Show at the Art Institute in 1922.

I like these eagles
which can symbolize valor
as well as cash.

But I'm puzzled by this relief.

Why the mother and child?

Why the worker with a hammer?

Perhaps they represent the peaceful life
for which the soldiers gave their lives.

But what have they got to do
with slot machines and poker games?


Blogger MJRoss said...

Thank you so much for posting the photos of the Bridge Ladies as my sisters and I called them whem growing up in Aurora in the 40s and 50s. We lived on New York St. and would walk to our Granny's house across the bridge and onto Walnut St. where she lived. I am 72 now and still dream about and am haunted (in a good way) by the Bridge Ladies. Majored in art history at U. of Chicago but never knew until now about Emory Seidel. Guess it never occurred to me that they were created by an artist! They just WERE. Melanie Lewis Ross

January 27, 2013  
Blogger chris miller said...

Thanks for your reminiscence, Melanie.

Those Bridge Ladies are indeed haunting.

If he were born a generation earlier, Seidel would probably have gotten many commissions for cemetery monuments.

January 28, 2013  

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