Wednesday, January 29, 2014

For Art's Sake: Head of David Moved from City Hall

Ken Gidge with the "Head of David," on the third floor of Nashua City Hall. 

By Carol Robidoux

NASHUA, NH - If you noticed the giant "Head of David" statue was missing from the third floor at City Hall, Ken Gidge would like to hug you.

Because you are likely one of the few art aficionados who even knew the giant statue was on display at City Hall.

And that underscores in Gidge's mind why it was time to move the replica along. It was cast from the original masterpiece by Michelangelo, which he bought from a shop on Newbury Street 15 years ago.

Gidge said it's one of only 16 of exact replicas in the world.

Having no practical place to display it himself, Gidge – an artist and longtime State Rep – loaned it to the city with one caveat: that it be placed in a high traffic area, for maximum visibility.

With the exception of a brief stint on the main floor of City Hall next to the staircase, Gidge says the statue had a nomadic existence until it was finally exiled to the third floor five years ago, where it has been languishing, under-appreciated and doomed to obsolescence.

"This deserves a better place, and it's going to go to a better place. I want people to see it," Gidge said Friday, just before the big move.

Gidge got an offer for the statue he couldn't refuse, from Greg Kyre, owner of Gregory J's Flooring & Design Center on Amherst Street, who sent a crew to pick up the statue Jan. 24.
It's now on display his store, in the carpet room.

With no fanfare, the moving crew lifted the disembodied head from its pedestal and covered David's face with a protective cloth, then hoisted the statue onto a hand truck. Some city employees from the third-floor IT department, drawn by the commotion, gathered silently in the doorway of their office to witness what probably looked more like a kidnapping in progress. [See video].
The city's attorney, Stephen Bennett, emerged from a nearby office and stopped to talk with Gidge about the move.

"I don't think the mayor or the building manager knew it was leaving today," Bennett said. "Maybe a 'heads up' would've been nice."

They carried the statue down three flights of stairs and into a waiting van.

Mayor Donnalee Lozeau was in Washington, D.C., Friday, for the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors. When contacted Friday, Lozeau said she was sorry to learn the statue was leaving the building.
"So nice that Ken shared with the whole city for such a long time," Lozeau said." David will be missed."

Gidge pointed to other works of art at City Hall he says should be more prominently displayed, like two landscapes in the rear of the third-floor auditorium painted by James Aponovich, "one of the best artists in this country," said Gidge, and another painting, hanging so high on the third-floor landing that you can't actually get in front of it to see it, Gidge said.

"This is a sad day. If you love art, you want art to be seen, and this has to be seen," Gidge said. "I'm sad it's leaving City Hall because this is probably where it belongs. In fact, famous people, like [John] McCain, have had their picture taken beside it. But most people walk right by it, as though it doesn't exist."

1 comment:

Michael Curtiss said...

Considering the powers-that- be in Nashua have a reputation for ignoring anything at all to do with the arts, I find it ironic that anyone within the current administration would get all huffy about the bust of David being relocated. Perhaps to assuage their guilt, they could mount it somewhere within the crumbling environs of the sadly neglected and underfunded pile of bricks that the city laughingly refers to as "the Court Street Theatre".