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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Great-Great-Great-Grandaddy Hiram Powers


Nice butt on that statue!

I'm not one to brag on my long and proud lineage as a bondage artiste, but there it is: I have one. One of my most famous ancestors that no one has ever heard of is Hiram Powers, a sculptor. And the sculpture that earned him his place in the art world was a little piece called "The Greek Slave," an image of a naked, chained woman looking a uncertain and defensive, being naked and chained and all.

Here's how one of my favorite authors, James Burke (best known for his "Connections" TV series on the history of technology)
describes the work in his book American Connections in the chapter on Declaration of Independence signer John Morton:
Frances Trollope (author Anthony's mother) ... wrote "Domestic Manners of the Americans" (Brits loved it, Americans didn't) and set up a money-making wax-museum project entitled "Infernal Regions" featuring dummies, mechanical figures and electric shocks. Most of the show's figure-modeling work was done by young sculptor Hiram Powers. Who eventually made it to D.C., where he sculpted the president and other luminaries, then headed for Florence, Italy. In 1843 he produced his blockbuster (possibly the most influential American statue ever) Greek Slave. The statue of a nude, shackled slave girl, her pose evoking the thought of terrible Turkish perversions, toured the United States for two years to standing-room-only prurience.

Heady company, you betcha! The most inflential American statue ever! A naked slavegirl in chains! In short, the most influential American statue ever was SEXUAL BONDAGE PORN! The more you learn about history, the weirder it gets! And I'm part of it! You, too ... probably.

2 comments:

kdnpr said...

You gotta be related

Pat Powers said...

Dont see how it could be otherwise.