Hamil-Swag: Pop Culture Meets Art Meets Awesome- “American Iconomics”

Check out these super creative renditions of currency with inspiration drawn from the worlds of film, art, and popular culture.  These images were created by artists Akira Beard and James Charles as part of a 2011 show at the Shooting Gallery in San Francisco entitled: American Iconomics.   Some of these awesome pieces are still on sale, for $600 a piece.  You should check out the full collection of images here– you’ll find Andrew Jackson as Ronald McDonald, Ulysses S. Grant as Mr. T, and other awesome iconic images.

Here are my favorite Hamilton images from the show.

Willy Wonka (coincidentally one of my favorite movies)- Hamilton as Wonka and a very distinguished Oompa Loompa

Star Wars– Yoda and Princess Leia

Akira Beard and James Charles : James Charles

Akira Beard and James Charles : James Charles

Van Gogh

Johnny Cash

Akira Beard and James Charles : James Charles

Note: all images were taken from the Shooting Gallery American Iconomics site.

Hamilton in DC

Writing this from the clouds: in an airplane flying from DC to LA!  I love technology!

If you’ve explored DC, you may have noticed that Hamilton is conspicuously absent in terms of memorials, statues, and public art from the city he had a huge role in making the capital.  While Jefferson’s influence can be felt throughout the city, Hamilton has been relegated to a much smaller role.  However, if you are looking for Hamilton stuff in DC- check out these places.

The first, located outside the Treasury Building, is by James Earle Fraser, who received the commission in 1917.  The 10 foot statue was erected in its current location in 1923.  I think it’s a really well-preserved, gorgeous statute.  The statue stands on a 9 foot base

If you’re in the Rotunda, you’ll notice this statue.  It was made by Horatio Stone, a prominent sculptor/doctor in the mid-1800s whose sculptures can be seen throughout Washington.

Alexander Hamilton

And, I’ve resolved that I’ll finally eat here next time I’m in DC!  The Hamilton is a restaurant/music venue located near Metro Center.  And, according to the Washington Post, the food’s pretty good.  Gotta love Hamilton in his own Hamil-swag.

Images of Hamilton: Alexander Hamilton Memorial Statue in Chicago

If you’ve visited Chicago, you may have noticed a gilded statue of Alexander Hamilton in Lincoln Park.

The sculpture was commissioned by Chicago heiress Kate Sturgis Buckingham and designed by British sculptor John Angel.    Kate was the daughter of Ebenezer Buckingham, who made his fortune in grain elevators.   She never married and devoted her time to philanthropy and public art projects for the city, including the famous Buckingham Fountain.

Time Magazine stated in a 1951 article that Buckingham had “two consuming interests: art and Alexander Hamilton.”  Buckingham considered Hamilton “one of the least appreciated great Americans.”  She felt that “Hamilton had secured the nation’s financial future, making it possible for her own family to make a fortune.”   Prior to her death, Hamilton commissioned the statue from Angel and envisioned a massive setting.  She commissioned artist Eliel Saarinen to design a massive, 80 foot column to go behind the statue.  However, this proposal was not well-received and the setting was never completed.

Saarinen’s proposal (courtesy of Flickr user Chernobyl.Skies):

Buckingham died in 1937 before the statue was completed, but she left $1 million in her will to the Art Institute specifically to create and maintain the Hamilton Memorial.  The Art Institute trustees were not particularly keen to complete the work according to Buckingham’s vision, and Buckingham’s trustees eventually had to take them to court in 1951 to have the statue and setting completed.  The court ordered the completion of the monument by 1953, and the Art Institute commissioned Samuel A. Marx to create the setting.  

Original memorial with setting created by Marx (from the Art Institute of Chicago):

The statue stood like this for 40 years, but then engineering studies revealed design flaws in the setting.  The setting was demolished in 1993, and the statue has stood in its current form since then.  If you go to Lincoln Park today, this is what you’ll see:

Hamilton Statue in Chicago

For a more detailed description of the history of the Chicago memorial from an architectural point of view, see Andrew Raimist’s blog, Architectural Ruminations.  And for more images of Hamilton, check out the AHA Society’s Hamilton desk calendar.

Images of Hamilton: John Trumbull

[Note: I am certainly no art historian, but I very much appreciate images of Hamilton as you can tell by my Facebook group: Alexander Hamilton: The Hotness Never Dies.  I’m going to use this series to focus on a few of the painters and sculptors who depicted Hamilton, and show some of the images of Hamilton I think do him the most justice.]

The Sierra Star recently published a piece on John Trumbull entitled “A Revolutionary Painter.”   Trumbull was an active participant in the revolution, and a military comrade of Hamilton.  He briefly served as an aide to Washington, and was involved in politics as he pursued his artistic career.  Trumbull produced some of the most iconic images of the Revolution and the Early Republic.  Trumbull painted several pictures of Hamilton, and featured him prominently in his group paintings of the Constitutional Convention and the Revolutionary War. 

Interestingly, Trumbull dined with both Hamilton and Burr on July 4, 1804.   In his autobiography, Trumbull recollected the event:

“On the 4th of July, I dined with the Society of the Cincinnati, my old military comrades, and then met, among others Gen. Hamilton and Col. Burr.  The singularity of their manner was observed by all, but few had any suspicion of the cause. Burr, contrary to his wont, was silent, gloomy, sour ; while Hamilton entered with glee into all the gaiety of a convivial party, and even sang an old military song.  A few days only passed, when the wonder was solved by that unhappy event which deprived the United States of two of their most distinguished citizens.”

Trumbull had planned to pursue his career in Boston, but found that the market for his services was too crowded by other artists.  He instead returned to New York, and was commissioned by the city government to paint whole length portraits of Jay and Hamilton.  Trumbull states that he created the portrait using the bust created by Ceracchi (and later bought by Jefferson to display in Monticello) as inspiration for those portraits.

This was painted in 1805, the year after Hamilton’s death, and Trumbull used various accumulated drawings as its basis.  This portrait is the basis for the design of the Ten Dollar bill. 

By John Trumbull, 1805. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC 

(The best bill!  Image found here)

This 1792 portrait has Hamilton standing at his desk “an inkwell with quill at hand-the heroic pose of a writer and thinker at the pinnacle of his career.”

This 1832 portrait was copied from an original that Trumbull had painted in Washington in 1792. 

From the Yale University Art Gallery eCatalogue

Trumbull is an interesting historical figure in his own right.  If you’re interested in reading more about him, I suggest looking at his Autobiography or John Trumbull : a brief sketch of his life, to which is added a catalogue of his works (1901) by John Ferguson Weir.