About the Exhibition
Artists Keith Edmier, Roxy Paine, Kiki Smith, Kim Sooja, and Brian Tolle were commissioned to make dynamic new works suited for specific sites within Central Park for the Public Art Fund and the Whitney Museum of American Art’s co-curated exhibition in Central Park as part of the Whitney Museum’s 2002 Biennial Exhibition. Together, these five installations represent a broad overview of contemporary approaches to public art that are both thought-provoking and accessible to the largest possible audience.
Emil Dobbelstein and Henry J. Drope, 1944 by Keith Edmier (b.1967, Chicago, IL) appears as a seemingly conventional war memorial to his grandfathers, who both served in the Second World War. Playing upon the traditional figurative statuary located throughout Central Park, this work comprises two three-quarter scale bronze figures, each standing atop a granite base engraved with an epitaph. These uncanny figures are depicted in formal military attire, historically accurate to what they would have worn in 1944, the year Edmier's paternal grandfather, Emil Dobbelstein, committed suicide while on active duty at a military base in Missouri. Henry J. Drope, his mother's father, died in 1995 at the age of seventy-nine. By acknowledging his grandfathers' unique roles in World War II's massive history, Edmier's personal narrative complicates the notion of public statuary, resulting in a tender memorial.