Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Huntress of the Moon, and Lady of the Earth

The early 70's were strange times. People actually believed in the possibility of a revolution in the United freaking States of America. A lot of the people who believed that, well, actually, the vast majority, were stupid kids who had very little idea what they were talking about. Three of those kids (Diana Oughton, Terry Robbins, and Ted Gold) were making bombs one day in their Greenwich Village Townhouse, when one of their bombs went off - killing them.

That was on March 6, 1970. Less than three months before Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark had been murdered in their sleep by the Chicago police. And less than two months later, on April 30, President Nixon ordered the US invasion of Cambodia, which in turn sparked demonstrations on college campuses around the nation. On May 4 National Guard troops opened fire on student demonstrators at Kent State University, killing four and wounding 9. Then in the early morning of May 15 police opened fire on a dormitory building at Jackson State University, killing 2 and wounding 12.

The result of these and similar events was that in the Spring of 1970 liberals became radicals and radicals became revolutionaries. The famous San Francisco rock-group Jefferson Starship captured the zeitgeist of this time on their 1971 album Sunfighter, and especially in the song Diana, which portrayed Diana Oughton as a revolutionary hero (another song on the same album, Holding Together, also expressed open sympathy for the Viet Cong):
[Diana, Part 1]
How do you feel to shoot down your brother now

And bury us in cages of cement and steel

What do you see when you look at one another now
Who do you see tell me how do you feel

Sing a song for the children who are gone

Sing a song for Diana

Huntress of the moon and a lady of the Earth

Weather woman Diana

[Diana, Part 2]
How do you feel as you cut
Down your children now
And leave them dying
On the grass in the sun

What do you see
When you look at one another now
Tell me old man
Tell me where will you run

Sing a song
For the children going down
Remember - the ones you knew
Remember how we danced
And remember how we sang
In Amerika
So many years ago.

[Diana, from the album Sunfighter, 1971]
If you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, then I strongly recommend you see the amazing 2002 documentary The Weather Underground by Sam Green and Bill Siegel. Whether you were there or not, whether you think people like Diana Oughton were evil, foolish, heroic, or possibly some combination thereof, this is an amazing film.

No townhouses or young revolutionaries were harmed in the creation of the beautiful statue Diana of the Chase (pictured at the top of this post), by the spectacularly talented sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. This sculpture can be seen, among other places, at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland. It can also be seen at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina, and also at the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery of American Art at Harvard University.

Huntington's stunning sculpture inspired her friend, Maxwell Anderson, to write the following poem in 1922, the closing lines of which are, well, kind of freaking me out right now as I write this and ponder how eerily appropriate those words are:
Now you have shot your arrow at the Sun,
little Diana, and the god caught you there -
the living wind still in your up-blown hair,
your eyes burnt back from staring hard upon
the target of the glory of high noon -
caught and immured you in his burnished air
forever, a too valiant challenger,
lifting the empty sockets of the moon.

Had you walked soberly your forest shade
and hid your virgin lustre under cloud
and let your bow hang at the eaves unstrung
you had not died so light and fierce a maid,
for, dying, gone to join the mutinous crowd
of beautiful blind rebels who died young.


Erik said...

Brookgreen Gardens also has an incredible statue of Dionysos:

Apuleius Platonicus said...

Nice! Edward McCartan is now on my list of favorite sculptors!