Just because you’re made out of bronze doesn’t mean you have to stay stuck in one place. Even if that place is Boston. Boston’s statues have a way of moving around that you wouldn’t expect in something that heavy.
Some statues go missing only to turn up later in unexpected places around the city. I have learned of several but don’t have room for them all in one post, so I will break it into two parts.
The following two works of public art—one big and one small—disappeared from their original locations in Boston only to reappear elsewhere.
“Quest Eternal” or The Naked Guy
When I wrote about the disappearance of “Quest Eternal” from the Prudential Center’s Boylston Street Plaza, I did not expect to ever find it. My inquiries to the Prudential’s PR department went unanswered. Despite the statue’s size—five tons in weight and 27 feet high—I thought it would get lost in a warehouse and never again see the light of day.
Then one of my readers alerted me to a new development. On September 17, the Boston Committee on Arts, Culture, and Special Events would be deciding whether to accept a donation of a sculpture from the Boston Properties Prucenter Acquisition LLC. The statue, none other than Quest Eternal by Donald DeLue and appraised at $360,000 went on offer at Docket #1185.
I emailed several times after the hearing but neither Committee Liaison Juan Lopez nor his staff ever responded. In the rush of the fall tour season, I lost track of the topic until another message on The Next Phase Blog alerted me to the result. Boston accepted the gift and Quest Eternal will be located in the newly renovated Smith Playground in Allston.
So, there you have it. The missing statue once nicknamed “the naked guy” will reach for the stars from a children’s playground 4.3 miles from his original location on Boylston Street.
I hope that any nervous mothers do not become upset by the very large and “anatomically correct” nude man soon to arrive in their midst. It could make for some interesting conversations with their kids on the way home.
Perhaps a couple of moms might sew him up a Celtics uniform so our naked guy looks like he’s going in for a layup. Just a thought. After all, if the ducklings in the Public Garden have their own wardrobe and George Washington wears Boston’s team jerseys, there’s no reason why the Naked Guy shouldn’t get some pants.
- My thanks to Kelly McGrath for providing the information on Quest Eternal.
The Fed’s Metal Ostrich
Sculptor Madeleine Lord reached out to let me know that the ostrich sculpture that formerly stood on the plaza in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has been moved. I wrote about this one in “The Boston Fed’s Scrap Metal Giraffe” on September 15, 2016.
Last year, someone apparently “sat upon and severely bent” the ostrich “like it was a carousel bird.” (Some people have no manners.)
Ms. Lord, who had retired since I wrote the post about her work, was called back by the Federal Reserve Bank to fix it. She arrived “with a car full of ostrich parts” to rebuild and fortify the statue in the Fed’s basement welding shop.
In what must have been an interesting afternoon, she entered the lobby with a cart full of scrap metal and had to put all the pieces through security screening before she could enter the building. “Next time,” they told her, “go to the basement.”
The repair took what Ms. Lord describes as two fun weeks in which she cut up the damaged ostrich before adding new legs, new feathers and a new base. Once restored, the ostrich was moved to the building’s inner courtyard where it now watches serenely over bocce games.
More Statues on the Move
But wait, there’s more! I will follow up this post with another that tracks two more well-known statues in Boston to their new homes.