Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lenin in Fremont

There's a 16-foot, 7-ton statue of Vladimir Lenin in the Fremont section of Seattle. It's often decorated depending on the season; right now it has a big illuminated star on its head left over from Christmas. While the giant statue adds to the bohemian feel of the neighborhood, it turns out the statue is not there because Fremont is filled with Communists, but rather because a Washingtonian found the statue of great artistic merit.

This work took sculptor Emil Venkov 10 years to create under commission by the Soviet and Czechoslovak governments, and it was installed in Poprad, Slovakia in 1988. It's thought to be the only artistic representation of Lenin surrounded by flames and symbols of war, thus depicting him as a violent revolutionary rather than an intellectual. Lewis Carpenter, an American who was teaching in Poprad, found the sculpture in a scrapyard after it was removed from Lenin's Square following the Velvet Revolution in 1989. He mortgaged his house to buy it and move it to Issaquah.

Carpenter died in 1994, and his family had the statue moved to its Fremont location in 1995 -- but it might not be there forever. Evidently the arrangement is considered temporary and the statue is for sale. Wikipedia says the price was $250,000 in 2006. Given the economy right now, you might be able to get them to cut you a deal.

1 comment:

  1. This is very interesting. And quite a good piece of art.