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Sugar MapleAcer saccharum-planted December 4, 1980—in honor of retirement of Rep. Harly o. Staggers—sponsor Rep. John Dingell—in fair condition and has basal decay (trunk damage and decay at base of tree)
Pin Oak-Quercus palustris—Planted 1917—Rep. Joseph Taggart—in poor condition and in decline
Ms. KAPTUR. I also support the connection of the Library of Congress to any subterranean work that is being done here. With all the video capabilities that we have and with people wandering around the Capitol-how many visitors do we actually receive every year?
Mr. HANTMAN. 3 to 4 million.
WOMEN'S ART IN THE CAPITOL
Ms. KAPTUR. No idea? I am so glad to be back on this subcommittee because one of my big interests is in having this institution more fully reflect the history of those who have lived and live in this country in its art exhibits. I have had bills for several years now on women's art in the Capitol, art that more fully reflects the contributions of American women to our way of life.
Now, if we were to grade the Architect of the Capitol and all the other institutions that you have to work with to place these fixtures on the walls, other than Pocahontas and Jeannette Rankin, we are not doing all that well. As we build this new Visitor's Center, and as you look around, I am wondering what your thinking is about how we could more fully give this new generation of Americans that is walking through here the idea that they can belong here too?
I will tell you a personal experience I had. You come to my office today. In it hangs the portrait of Mary Norton, the first urban Congresswoman elected east of the Mississippi River. She was here during the Roosevelt era, and I am a pro-labor Democrat and she was responsible for writing all the legislation concerning labor rights in this country. Everything from minimum wage to time and a half for overtime and the National Labor Relations Act, whether you stipulate or not, she is a heroine to me.
Her portrait was taken down and stored in a closet in annex 1, and whether you agree with labor rights or not, the fact that this woman made a difference in this country, including the abolition of child labor, is a significant contribution in my judgment. The fact that her portrait was collecting dust in the closet in annex 1 or something is abhorrent to me. But it illustrates the issue that the contributions of women here do not matter.
When we have young women coming through this Capitol, young men who are going to have to live with women in this new millennium, it seems we ought to try harder to represent the contributions of American women to American life. It is something that should have been done in 1950. And I know that the rule around here, if you have been a chairman of a committee, you get your portrait painted when you leave. But we have many, many women serving here, and we are at the beginning of our recorded history,
When they tried to bring that "bathtub statue” up, I found that expression very interesting, on the Suffragettes its created a national incident, if you remember that.
My question, Mr. Hantman, is how can I work with you and the other members who care—it is bipartisan, both men and women have sponsored my bills—how can we deal with this in a more thoughtful way because people are influenced by what they see, especially in the legislative branch, the first branch mentioned in the Constitution, when they walk through here? I have not been satisfied with the progress that has been made in fully elevating the contributions of American women to our way of life.
Mr. HANTMAN. Thank you for a very thoughtful question. Just as a point of information, one of the first tasks I performed here when I became the Architect of the Capitol was to spend 31 hours moving that statue of 14,000 pounds from the crypt up to the rotunda, and I take pride in having achieved that, working with the Women's Museum, planning that and celebrating that. And I share your concern that there is a dearth certainly of statues and paintings throughout the Capitol.
One of the wonderful opportunities that we have right now in the Visitor's Center is the artwork. The frieze in the rotunda ends with the Wright Brothers. History goes on. People contributed before the Wright Brothers and they are not represented as well. So we do have opportunities and we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you, show you some of these art opportunities for statues for major pieces of artwork or continuations of friezes that we have and are not currently funded in this $265 million project.
My feeling is that future generations will want to contribute to it too, but whether or not it is through the Pew Foundation that is raising funding or other people who are raising funds to contribute artwork, we certainly could use some artwork.
HOUSE CURATOR AND HISTORICAL STAFF
Ms. KAPTUR. I think Members would help. It is like a huge omission and nobody is focused on it, even where we hang things on the walls, how you augment what is already there; how you have rotating exhibits, something through here working with major national museums. I don't know what your rules are. I just know that nobody is thinking about this in a systematic way because it never changes. I am after how do we institute an effort where someone or some set of people could know about this in a way where we could mobilize our private sector and private lending, if that is allowed, as well as some of those pieces that will be acquired here as we make changes. How do we do that?
I know it isn't only you but the Fine Arts Commission. You do not have total say. What do you need from us in order to dedicate some staff time to this?
Mr. TRANDAHL. Ms. Kaptur, I am Jeff Trandahl. I am the Clerk of the House, and just so you are aware, earlier in the hearing today I was discussing one of the ideas that I have put forward in my submission which is the creation of a curator and expanding historical staff in the House of Representatives.
Like you, I feel that not only is there underrepresentation of a we have. And we do not clearly know what we have and subsequently, it is impossible to know what we are missing or what we should probably add into the collection.
So an idea that is within the request right now is to create a curatorial group in the House to begin the effort and help us to do that.
[The following question from Chairman Taylor and response follows:)
FINE ARTS Question. The following entities play a role in the responsibility and acquisition of Works of Art/Statues on the House side: the House Fine Arts Commission; Capitol Preservation Commission; and the Joint Committee on the Library. Provide a description of the responsibilities of each jurisdiction in the acquisition of fine art and statues. Is the Architect of the Capitol represented within each of these areas? Describe the role of the Architect of the Capitol in relationship to the responsibilities of these entities.
Response. The Architect of the Capitol makes recommendations to the Clerk of the House and the House Fine Arts Board, established by P.L. 100–696 in 1988, regarding acceptance and placement of works of art on the House side of the Capitol and in the House office buildings, such as portraits of committee chairmen. The public law states ... “c) Architect of the Capitol.--The Architect of the Capitol shall provide assistance to the Board and to the Clerk of the House of Representatives in the carrying out of their responsibilities under this title.” The Fine Arts Board has rules and regulations passed on October 18, 1989. Works of art on the House side are catalogued by the AOC Curator, and conservation is carried out as necessary using the Repairs, Works of Art appropriation to the Architect. Historic decorative art objects, such as nineteenth-century gilded mirror and picture frames, have also been conserved using this fund.
The Architect of the Capitol is a non-officio member of the U.S. Capitol Preservation Commission, established by P.L. 100–696 in 1988. “(d) Architect of the Capitol.-In addition to the members under subsection (b), the Architect of the Capitol shall participate in the activities of the Commission, ex officio, and without the right to vote." "(e) Staff Support and Assistance.—The Senate Commission on Art, the House of Representatives Fine Arts Board, and the Architect of the Capitol shall provide to the Commission such staff support and assistance as the Commission may request.” The Architect has been the primary entity making requests to the U.S. Capitol Preservation Commission for funding or approvals. Projects include the restoration of the model of the Statue of Freedom and of the Statue of Freedom itself. Follow-up maintenance of the bronze Statue of Freedom has been funded through Repairs, Works of Art.
The Architect of the Capitol is the primary advisor regarding acceptance and placement of works of art for the Joint Committee on the Library. The AOC Curator works closely with Joint Committee staff and the congressional leadership is consulted as necessary. Before the creation of the Senate Commission on Art, the Joint Committee was responsible for the acceptance and placement of all works of art in the Capitol. “The Joint Committee on the Library, whenever in their judgment, it is expedient, are authorized to accept any work of the fine arts, on behalf of Congress, which may be offered, and to assigned the same such place in the Capitol as they may deem suitable, and shall have the supervision of all works of art that may be placed in the Capitol.” Revised Statues Sec. 1831, Act of June 10, 1872, 40 U.S.C.
The Joint Committee of the Library clearly has jurisdiction over such joint collections as The National Statuary Hall Collection. However, there is yet to be a clear definition of which works of art are under “joint” jurisdiction and which are under the jurisdiction of the Senate Commission on Art or the House Fine Arts Board. (The Clerk of the House and some staff on the Senate side have expressed the opinion that there are jointly-owned works of art throughout the Capitol, and the history of acquisition shows that many were jointly acquired.) The Architect has funded conservation of works considered joint, including the fort series by Seth Eastman, and National Statuary Hall statues, through the Repairs, Works of Art fund.
The Architect of the Capitol also cares for works of art considered architectural. In addition to the Statue of Freedom, the Liberty and the Eagle in National Statuary Hall was cleaned as part of the current renovation. The conservation of frescoes and other murals are funded through the Conservation of Wall Paintings
The responsibilities of the Architect of the Capitol include the documentation and care of numerous works of art, historic objects, and architectural spaces and features throughout the Capitol Complex. The curatorial and archival functions of the Architect of the Capitol are managed by the Curator for the Architect. The qualifications for this position include a Ph.D. in art history; the Curator is assisted by a person with professional training in muscum registration and a professional archivist. A major curatorial function is maintaining the inventory of art and historical objects. The Curator's Office manages an in-depth reference system that includes a file on each work of art, artist, and room in the Capitol, in addition to files on the construction of the buildings on the Capitol Grounds and on major ceremonies such as joint sessions of Congress and inaugurations. These files are constantly being updated and are used to answer questions from Members of Congress and the public; they also provide the bases of written fact sheets and publications. The Curator also conducts research on the Capitol and its art as well as encouraging outside scholars through the United States Capitol Historical Society Fellowship
The filing system established by Charles Fairman, who was Curator from 1911 to 1941, is constantly being updated and expanded. Beginning in the 1980s, the Curator has developed 2 computerized inventory of art objects. The inventory is currently kept in a flexible, relational data base, which allows retrieval of information in different categories and formats. Within this data base, the list of works of art under the jurisdiction of the House of Representatives constitutes the House Registry, which is being maintained by the Curator for the Clerk of the House and the House Fine Arts Board. The data base also includes works of art under joint and Senate jurisdiction.
The computerized inventory contains extensive information on each work of art (for example, medium, dimensions, provenance, and conservation treatments) and is accompanied by pictorial documentation. Updated photographs are taken of each work after cleaning and conservation; each photograph is given a unique negative number and can be retrieved from a related computerized data base.
Information about the art collection is published in Art in the Unites States Capitol, the first version of which was compiled by Charles Faiman in 1913. The book was last published in 1978 and is scheduled to be revised by the Architect for republication during the bicentennial of the Capitol. Plans are under way to make this publication accessible to the public on Internet.
The Curator also records and documents works of artistic and historic importance that are part of the architectural fabric of the building, such as murals, marble mantels, and gilded