Monday, June 22, 2009

In a Wonderland they lie...

Got lost in Central Park this past weekend.

Well, only slightly lost. Problem is, my knowledge of the park is limited to the few years of my childhood I spent touring the museums almost every other weekend. I'm familiar with Strawberry Fields, the pond and, of course Alice.

When we stumbled across this last Saturday, it was the first time I'd seen it in almost ten years (maybe more).

It's funny how nostalgia works. Ever since being back State-side, I've thought many times about stopping by to see if it was still here (although, really, I knew it was; more like if the magic it held for me as a kid was still here).

And while seeing it again was nice, I guess the combination of rain, age and the fact that I was wearing a dress changes a lot. I remember climbing all over it when I was younger, the triumphant moment when I finally was able to pull myself on top of her head.

Best I can do now is enjoy it for what it is: a public sculpture. Fortunately, I've always loved bronze statues of this sort. And again, the funny thing about nostalgia is how it can bring along new with the old.

Not far from Creeft's Alice, we came across another fixture inspired by Carroll's story which I had never seen before. In fact, I may have walked right by it if I hadn't recognized the image of Alice's unusual croquet mallet.

Several of the characters are recognizable - the Hatter, of course, with Alice to the left.

But most of the characters Roth chose to depict are more obscure. Sure, everyone knows the Cheshire Cat, but not everyone is familiar with characters like his human, the Duchess or Old Father William.

Anyone remember the Gryphon? His counterpart, the Mock Turtle is, unfortunately, absent.

I'm pretty sure this is a parrot from the Queen's court. And you can just barely make out the nose of the little dog Alice met shortly after a bite from the mushroom.

In a way, I actually like this piece more. It's probably age and the years of art history and appreciation. I like the stylized designs; it seems to do Carroll's characters more justice. But who knows how I'll feel ten years from now? Ever drifting down the stream...

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