July 30, 2014

7/30/14 - Crazy Horse Memorial

The brochure says Crazy Horse Memorial is the "World's largest mountain carving in progress".  I have no reason to doubt that.  We think that it will still be "in progress" for a long, long time.

The memorial is being carved out of Thunderhead Mountain in the Black Hills.  When completed it will be 641' long and 563' high.  It's definitely one great big chunk of rock!  Avenue of the Chiefs gives a good perspective.
They say that all four 60' high heads of Mount Rushmore would fit into Crazy Horse's head.  Yes, it will definitely be monumental!  (Yep, pun intended.  Deal with it.)  When we were watched the video at Mount Rushmore, they said they spent the mornings placing dynamite, set off the explosion at noon, and did clean-up in the afternoons.  Apparently explosions around here are not nearly so well choreographed.  We couldn't see that they were doing any work at all.
The sculpture was begun by Korczak Ziolkowski in 1948.  Since his death in 1982, it's been funded by private donations and the (high) admission fees, and now it's a non-profit run by the Ziolkowski family.  With more than 1 million visitors a year, they're definitely racking in the money.  It seems to me that the family is using it for lots of other things rather than the sculpture.

The Indian Museum of North America has some beautiful things, but I think it has a very amateurish feel to it--big open spaces with no cohesion to the exhibits.
The Mountain Museum includes the Sculptor's Log Studio Home and is adjacent to the Sculptor's Workshop--and they're even worse.  Obviously Korczak needed something to do during the cold South Dakota winters, so there are other pieces he's done in a more moderate size.  The bronze is of Chief Henry Standing Bear.
I guess there's a lot of criticism about the statue from Native Americans, believing it to be a desecration of the landscape and sacred ground of the Black Hills.  On the other hand, while we were there, we went to the Native Dancing program given by two Sioux men, so apparently they don't all object.

There's a 1/34th scale model outside, which is pretty cool.  (I have no idea why he decided on 1:34.  I'm not even going to think about playing around with the math.)  Korczak depicted Crazy Horse pointing over his horse's head because he was supposed to have said, "My lands are where my dead lie buried."
There are other sculptures near the exit.  This one is called "Fighting Stallions".
But, of course, the point of the whole place is the very unfinished statue of Crazy Horse.  This is the last view we had on the way out.  If you scroll up and look at the one I took when we first got there, you'll see that about the only thing that's changed are cloud formations.
Follow the link for more pictures:  Crazy Horse Memorial 

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  1. Crikey ..... My prediction is that will NEVER get finished. Doesn't appear to be too much activity taking place. I'm with the Indians on this one. What a desecration of the landscape but what would I know. I thought the same about Mt. Rushmore. I like nature in it's raw state.


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