Meredith Bergmann, 1955

  • Meredith-Bergmann-the-sculptress-who-created-the-Boston-Womens-Memorial-WWP-1

Woman Category: Arts and Literature & PoetryWoman Tags: Greater Boston Women, Poet, and Sculptress

  • HerStory
    Meredith Bergmann, 1955

    A sculptress and poet, famous for creating the Boston Women’s Memorial and for her contribution to the regeneration of public monuments in the US.

    Meredith Gang was born in New Jersey to secular Jewish parents who encouraged her to make art and have social awareness. She graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art from The Cooper Union in 1977 and the following year traveled to Europe, settling shortly in Pietrasanta, Italy to further develop her sculpting skills. The breakthrough came after 20 years of practice when she won her largest public commission, that of the Boston Women’s Memorial.
     
    Her work is informed by her timely interest in complex histories, female and racial representation in public spaces. Those themes come across in her public installations such as Countee Cullen memorial in New York Public Library and September 11th Memorial for the Cathedral of St. John.
     
    Bergmann won the commission to create the first monument of “real women” in Central Park, NYC, which was dedicated on August 26th, 2020. The monument has gained public attention since, among the 22 statues in the Park, only one depicts a female figure – Alice in Wonderland. The new monument is called “Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument,” devoted to the suffragists Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
     
    She started studying poetry at the age of 48. Her poems since appeared in various publications, she served for a decade as the poetry editor of American Arts Quarterly and published a poetry chapbook. Bergmann is married to film director Michael Bergmann, with whom she collaborated as Production Designer. The two have a son and live in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
     

    “Something that is merely beautiful is not art enough for me. It needs layers of meaning that unfold over time”

    “Something that is merely beautiful is not art enough for me. It needs layers of meaning that unfold over time”

     


    Another Interesting Anecdote:

    • Her late-blooming career as a poet was inspired by the story of Phillis Wheatley – first black female poet published in the United States – whom she depicted in her Boston monument.
  • More About Her Legacy
    Awards:

    * 1977 The Eliot Lash Award for Sculpture, The Cooper Union
    * 2017 Proskauer Prize, National Sculpture Society

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    Meredith Bergmann, 1955

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  • Meredith Bergmann, 1955

    Woman Tags: Greater Boston Women, Poet, Sculptress
     

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    52

    Sculptor of first women s statue in Central Park

    (21 Nov 2019) SOUNDBITE (English) Meredith Bergmann, sculptor:
    "I think about what it would have meant to me as a child to see this monument, to know these histories. I think about the size of it, the scale of it, where it will be and who it will affect. And I am incredibly moved to have been chosen to add this to New York City."
    SCULPTOR MEREDITH BERGMANN RECOGNIZES THE HONOR OF CREATING THE FIRST STATUE OF WOMEN IN NEW YORK'S CENTRAL PARK.
    BERGMANN'S MONUMENT TO THREE LEADERS IN THE FIGHT FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS - SUSAN B. ANTHONY, ELIZABETH CADY STANTON AND SOJOURNER TRUTH - WILL TAKE ITS PLACE AMONG THE  23 STATUES OF MEN AND TWO FICTIONAL WOMEN - MOTHER GOOSE AND ALICE IN WONDERLAND - CURRENTLY IN THE PARK.
    SOUNDBITE (English) Meredith Bergmann, sculptor:
    "This monument is a contemporary evocation of the 19th century monument that should have been built for these women and wasn't. That is part of why it is being allowed to be erected in Central Park. Which is full  of 19th century monuments to great men but none to great women."
    IT HAS TAKEN SIX YEARS FOR THE STATUE TO BECOME A REALITY.
    THE EFFORT WAS SPEAR HEADED BY THE NONPROFIT MONUMENTAL WOMEN WHICH HAS RAISED $1.5  MILLION TO FUND THE STATUE.
    THE IDEA INITIALLY MET OPPOSITION FROM PARK OFFICIALS WHO BALKED AT PUTTING ANY MORE STATUES IN THE 166-YEAR-OLD  PARK.
    SOUNDBITE (English) Pam Elam, President, Monumental Women:
    "So we said, could you show me where that is written. Is it a law or a regulation or some sort of codification of 'THERE SHAL BE NO OTHER STATUES' ? And of course they couldn't because they made it up as they went along. "
    FINAL APPROVAL WAS GRANTED IN OCTOBER AFTER SEVERAL REDESIGNS AND THE ADDITION OF SOJOURNER TRUTH, AN ESCAPED SLAVE AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST.
    SOUNDBITE (English) Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President:
    "There were different changes and I think there was a concern that there'd be a woman of color who was part she was part of the decision making for all of us to vote. And Sojourner Truth also was a New Yorker."
    THE ORIGINAL DESIGN WAS CHOSEN FROM 91 ENTRIES.
    BERGMANN SAYS THE CURRENT DESIGN SHOWS A SLICE IN TIME OPEN TO INTERPRETATION.
    SOUNDBITE (English) Meredith Bergmann, sculptor:
    "It's a group of three women in conversation, the exact moment in the conversation is up to you to decide who is who is listening to whom, who is speaking to whom."
    THE MONUMENTAL TASK OF CREATING THE NINE FOOT TALL STATUE HAS PUT BERGMANN ON A TIGHT TIMELINE.
    SOUNDBITE (English) Meredith Bergmann, sculptor:
    "Because of the time urgency of this project, which working backward from August 2020, when they are to be unveiled, we need a number of weeks for installation, four to six months for bronze casting, which means six months for bronze casting and then a month for mold making. I have to finish these by the end of this month."
    THE MONUMENT WILL BE DEDICATED ON AUGUST 26TH 2020 MARKING THE 100 ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICAN WOMEN WINNING THE RIGHT TO VOTE.
    JOSEPH FREDERICK, ASSOCIATED PRESS, NEW YORK

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  • The Boston Women’s Memorial, created by Bergmann in 2003. Photo credit - WWP team.


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