Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan

A Historical Guide

by Dianne L. Durante

Reader testimonials

Dale Flick, Jersey City, New Jersey

I finished your book last night, and have made mental notes to myself to look up several of the monuments whenever I am in the city and have a chance. I thought your concise sections on the art and the history of each piece were just delightful, like truffles; intensely flavorful but short lived, so I was always looking forward to the next one. I thought your explanations of how art works were down-to-earth and easy to grasp, but also quite elegant. Your detective’s eye was very impressive and I was always wishing I could zoom in on each of the images to see all the detail you uncovered. All-in-all, I thought it was a very well balanced presentation and I am eagerly waiting to be whisked away to your next collection of city monuments.

Adam Schwartz, WFIU Radio, Bloomington, Indiana

I just want to tell you how thrilled I am to have discovered your writings on sculpture on the Web and in your book Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan. Your writing has shown me that it’s OK to stop and look at sculpture. For the many years I lived in NYC, I would sometimes stop and look at  outdoor sculpture in public places, but on the sly, because it wasn’t cool. I now realize what a dumb attitude that is, and intend to spend the rest of my life looking at every piece of sculpture I come across. … I had forgotten how to look at art with the point of view of that part of us that takes delight in things. I guess I had bought into all the theory that allows all sorts of dreck to be called art  … Your method of looking at sculpture is helping me to find values and inspiration in art; getting me to think about my values and my philosophy, while gaining a greater discrimination of all sorts of artworks. We need values and inspiration and moral guidance, even in the twenty-first century. We're not beyond that, we just think we are.

Amazon review by Robert Begley

As a native New Yorker, at one time or another I've passed by and gazed at every one of the 54 sculptures listed in this excellent book. What I learned was how great each one is …. Dr. Durante's style of writing is very clear and she gives a practical guide in 'How to Read a Sculpture' with an objective basis.

Neil Estern, sculptor of La Guardia at La Guardia Place (Outdoor Monuments Essay 9)

It's very good - informative and well documented - Now you can go for Brooklyn - which has many monuments too!

Amazon review by Sylvia Bokor (click here to see the review on the Amazon site)

Apart from Ayn Rand's own work in esthetics (The Romantic Manifesto---and several other articles outside of it) and Dr. Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, Dr. Dianne Durante's Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan is the first published work to apply some of Miss Rand's revolutionary esthetics to works of art. This is a MAJOR achievement. 

In order to shape a culture dominated by by a rational philosophy, the Objectivist ethics is THE most important idea to get into the culture. And a number of outstanding philosophers have each, independent of one another, done admirable work in this area. 

The second most important idea essential to changing our culture is Miss Rand's esthetics. Dr. Durante opened the door to this with her criticism of the thoroughly reprehensible exhibition in New York's Central Park of Christo's Gates. She stood firm against invective. Now she is offering more details as she applies Miss Rand's esthetics to Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan. 

Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan is a clever organization of facts and commentary. It is also a welcomed introduction to important ideas that offer the reader rational guidelines to better appreciate and understand art in general and the outdoor monuments of Manhattan in particular.

Gus Van Horn's blog, 2/1/2007, "Outdoor Monuments in NY Times." Excerpts:

Based on her articles in The Objective Standard, I would say that it's a safe bet that the book will be well worth it -- even if you never step foot in New York. (Here are a few opening paragraphs from each of the TOS articles, "Getting More Enjoyment from Art You Love" and the fascinating "19th-Century French Painting and Philosophy".) [NOTE: you can read the opening paragraphs by clicking the links above.]

The best advice I can give to those unfamiliar with the TOS articles is to subscribe.

A very close second would be to visit the blog of Forgotten Delights, where the author offers some of her insights about and presents interesting facts pertaining to the sculptures she reviews in the book. ...

I applaud the Times for its positive review, but its apparent sense of priorities has me scratching my head -- and wanting to crack wise about whether Nicky Barnes [the former heroin dealer whose autobiography was reviewed on the same page as Outdoor Monuments] really has stopped dealing drugs and whether the staff of the Times are customers.