Photos courtesy La Guardia and Wagner Archives
Tucked into our article about the monument to missing tourists taken by wolves, was a reference to a sculpture of Rudolph Giuliani as a 1950s style movie monster. Both parts of that last sentence were incredible to type out because they are the brainchildren of Joseph Reginella, self-made parody artist extraordinaire. This year’s monument was not only inspired by Ed Koch’s stranger-than-fiction wolf proposal to deter graffiti artists from tagging the subways, but also a sculpture that Reginella made for Ed Koch back in 2000. Reginella was invited to visit Koch and take a photograph with the sculpture, and the former mayor wrote a note: “Thank you for the sculpture of Mayor Giuliani. You really captured his spirit.”
Reginella with Ed Koch and the sculpture bottom right. Photo courtesy Joseph Reginella.
Reginella’s original photograph of the Giuliani sculpture
Not surprisingly, the article went viral and made its way to the La Guardia and Wagner Archives at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia Community College/CUNY in Long Island City. Turns out the sculpture of Giuliani is in their archives! And the article we wrote helped provide provenance for it. They tweeted, “When we received the Koch collection it came with hundreds of artifacts. Some we have details about, others not so much. This is one of the artifacts with very few details. If you read the Untapped Cities article posted above you will see that Reginella gifted Koch a sculpture of Giuliani as a ‘1950s style movie monster’ back in 2000, the one we have! Which means we have better provenance about dates and maker for our monster Giuliani!”
Photo courtesy Joseph Reginella
Archivist Lauren Vandenberg explained how she found the statue in the archives: “As for how it was located, we knew we had a strange Giuliani sculpture in the Edward I. Koch Collection, but the records about where it came from and who made it were thin. I was reading your article about the wolf monument while drinking coffee over the weekend and thought the last photo looked familiar. I had been adding storage location data to all of the artifacts we have in our collections over the summer and had seen part of the Giuliani sculpture (he is fairly fragile so we keep him carefully packaged). When I got in to the office on Monday, I located the sculpture in our internal database. The dates we had listed matched the article and the photo looked close enough to warrant a trip to our secondary collection storage down the street. Low and behold, Monster Giuliani! Knowing more about the artist and the types of projects he creates lets us create better records.”
In response to the sculpture being found in the archives, sculptor Joe Reginella says, “That’s incredible! I’d like to make any repairs if need be. I only hope it looks decent, as I made it almost twenty years ago and I’m sure I’ve improved!”
What goes around comes around, the saying goes, and this story encapsulates so much of that. Next, we’ll be putting Reginella in touch with the archivist, Lauren Vandenberg and who knows where this story will go next! Perhaps Giuliani will pay a visit to the archives, amidst his busy schedule these days….
Next, check out the monument that started this all — dedicated to the missing tourists taken by wolves.