Posts tagged ‘Brian Curran’

Paterno and His Roman Counterpart, Pasquino


I took this photo July 21, 2012, the day before the statue came down.

It’s been interesting to see what’s happened to the site outside Beaver Stadium where Joe Paterno’s statue once stood. It’s just a grassy hillside now, but some people are treating the spot almost as if the statue is still there: They leave little mementos in the grass, especially on home football weekends.

The weekend of the Ohio game, someone put a tiny Bobblehead Joe in the grass. I think someone stuck a miniature cardboard Stand-Up Joe there at one point. And this past weekend there suddenly were flowers with notes, a ballcap, game tickets, and other items—along with a sign that said “KARMA HAS NO DEADLINE.” (See photo, below.)

Penn State art historian Brian Curran wouldn’t be surprised to see that, I don’t think. I interviewed Curran at the end of July, nine days after the statue came down, for a piece in our Sept-Oct issue. We ran it as a short Q&A in the magazine, and posted a longer version of it here on the blog. I sought him out for some academic, historical perspective on statues of heroes—from ancient Egypt, to ancient Rome, through the Renaissance and on up to present times.

I was especially interested in how various societies have dealt with statues of heroes who fall out of favor: In ancient Egypt, for example, (more…)

September 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm 5 comments

On Its Way: The Sept./Oct. Issue

Illustration by Noma Bar.

Storm. Hurricane. Deluge.

Weather-wise, this summer in State College has been fairly pleasant and calm. Yet we’ve heard those buzzwords countless times here at The Penn Stater over the past few months.

An onslaught of news since our last issue—the Sandusky trial, the Freeh report, the removal of the Paterno statue, the NCAA sanctions—prompted the stormy comparisons. And inevitably, some of those concepts worked their way into our Sept./Oct. issue.

In the magazine, beginning to hit mailboxes now, you’ll find four features that tackle the issues in different ways. Lori Shontz ’91 recaps the key events of the summer, art history professor Brian Curran examines the significance of the Paterno statue, and Ryan Jones ’95 explains why he’s still rooting for Penn State football. We’re especially proud of “Emerging from the Storm,” a conversation with sociology faculty Sam Richards and Laurie Mulvey ’94g, about how Penn Staters can cope with the mixed emotions brought on by the scandal and find a way to heal.

Our art director, Carole Otypka, commissioned illustrator Noma Bar to not only render the cover but also the opening illustration for each of the four features.

There are some fun stories, as well: a look at Penn State Brandywine Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska’s 285-mile trek across Pennsylvania, and a profile of faculty member Blake Ketchum, a forensic sculptor and artist, to name a few.

Once you get your copy of the new issue, tell us what you think by commenting here or emailing

 Mary Murphy, associate editor

August 28, 2012 at 2:15 pm 5 comments

Grass and Trees Where the Paterno Statue Once Stood

I’ve been driving by the former site of the Joe Paterno statue next to Beaver Stadium for the past week or so, watching the transformation from “statue/plaza” to “construction zone” to “grassy slope with trees, where you’d never know a statue once stood.” The project is pretty much finished now, and the fencing came down the other day; the photo at right is how things looked this morning.

Below is a short slide show of seven photos I took, starting Saturday, July 21 (the last day the statue was standing) and ending this morning. Click on any photo to pause the slide show.

You can see more photos at a previous post on the subject, and if you haven’t seen Lori Shontz’s account of the statue’s removal, I highly recommend that as well.

Yesterday I spent some time talking with Brian Curran, a faculty member in art history who is fascinated by statues, monuments, and memorials, and who sees the controversy over the Paterno statue from multiple perspectives: as a member of the Penn State community as well as a scholar and historian. We’re hoping to include some of his thoughts in our next print edition, due out at the end of this month, and I’ll probably post a longer version of the interview on the blog as well.

Tina Hay, editor

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August 1, 2012 at 8:53 am 4 comments

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