Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Torchbearers Sculpture at the Discovery Museum, Bridgeport, CT

Yesterday, there was a brief news post on the local News 12 television station that the sculpture was to be auctioned in New York City today.  The sculpture was donated in August of 1963 to the museum by the American sculptress Anna Hyatt Huntington of Redding, CT: 

The abrupt, last minute announcement of the planned sale of the sculpture was what I term an act of skullduggery.  The museum claims that they want to raise money for a NASA satellite project in a joint effort between the University of Hawaii and the University of Bridgeport.  Strangely, there are
science grants which can fund this type of research instead of pawning-off a major work of art which was given to the museum by the artist.  The lack of logic around Bridgeport in various quarters is apparent.  Science is not a pursuit that is undertaken by pawning-off major art work.  The logic certainly does escape me and I had received an A grade in an Elementary Logic philosophy course at Columbia University as an undergraduate. 

I spent part of today re-reviewing some of Anna Hyatt Huntington's papers which I have obtained for an ongoing research project of her life and work as an American sculptress.  Correspondence dated March 5, 1925 from Isaiah Bowman (once Director of the American Geographical Society of which Archer M. Huntington was a member of the Board of Directors) to Anna's husband Archer Milton Huntington included the following quote from an inscription in the National Academy of Sciences building, Washington, D. C.:

To Science
Pilot of Industry
Conquerer of Disease
Multiplier of the Harvest
Explorer of the Universe
Revealer of Nature's Laws
Eternal Guide to Truth

In an earlier correspondence from October 24, 1924 Mr. Archer M. Huntington is writing to a colleague about the future direction of the American Geographical Society:  "In the great maelstrom of secondary mentality with which we are surrounded, it seems plain that only those groups which have maintained standards of their own for long periods can look forward with confidence to carrying the 'torch' onward and perhaps a little upward in the great struggle which is growing more difficult in this overcrowding world of today." 

Both science and art have standards by which success and failure is judged.  Science and art have something in common which is termed "originality", not secondary mentality templates.

I am truly sorry to hear about the plan to pawn-off the Torchbearers sculpture in the "name of science" and I think the entire thing is a disgrace to both science and art.