Friday, November 21, 2008

Visitation - Audrey Munson (1891-1996)

I was not getting anywhere with my Wish You Were Here project. I was not getting any new images of friends who wanted to visit. So the idea evolved in my head. I decided to bring out cool historical figures and give them the chance to revisit New York.

Audrey Munson seemed as good a person as any to start with. I had read the New York Times article about her last year. She was an artist's model in the years before World War I. She posed for statues that are all around the city. She was the model for the gold Civic Fame statue on top of the Municipal Building and she can be found at the bottom of the Manhattan Bridge. She apparently was the first woman to appear totally nude in a film. She was also a journalist.
After she left the city for her home town, she attempted suicide and eventually was committed to an insane asylum where she lived until her death at 105. The Times article portrayed her as something of a victim spinning a cautionary tale of what happens to bohemians who leave New York City. But perhaps she was just really crazy in that larger than life, flouncing around naked kind of way.

Since most of the pictures of Audrey Munson are in the nude, I decided that this was how she would visit. I am sure she would have been curious to see Times Square and the theater district which was just becoming popular when she was there. But I was trying out a new fastener and I didn't think it would work with the new sign posts. So I figured she would also be happy near Union Square which was still a busy area.

I thought she might like to see the Bowery which has changed almost as much as Times Square.

Although from some perspectives it would still be familiar, perhaps.

The area around Madison Square Park was quite chic in her day and the Metlife tower was the tallest in the world. It is also really pretty so I hung her picture there.

Audrey Munson would have spent a lot of time in Greenwich Village where the artists were, so that I brought her there.

Watching her float over the city in striking her classic Beaux Arts pose, I really hope that Audrey Munson had a nice visit.

I will still work on the Wish You Were Here project, so anyone who promised me pictures are still welcome to send them. Regis, the one who started it all, just told me that he is taking my picture with him to Jordan. I hope he sends me snapshots and if he does, I will post them here.


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