Inspired by Daniel Chester French’s iconic Lincoln Memorial, Garin Baker entered a competition for a commission to create a monumental mural on a city-owned warehouse, Penn Center, near the corner of Third and R Streets. Chronicling the making of Abraham Lincoln statue, Baker’s mural, entitled 28 Blocks, is 65 feet high at its tallest and 160 feet wide. Read more in the March/April issue of Fine Art Connoisseur in this feature article on the project. Two videos document the mural’s creation and installation (below).
Baker is trying to raise the needed funds to finish a documentary with filmmaker Shawn Strong, entitled 28 Blocks: The Movie in time for the one-hundredth anniversary celebration of the Lincoln Memorial, in 2022. Anyone interested in supporting this endeavor can contact Baker directly: email@example.com or 845-863-4352.
Baker’s own narrative about the 28 Blocks project follows:
In 2017 12 million people visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
The story behind the creation of the Lincoln Memorial statue is one that many Americans are unaware of and goes to the symbolic core of who truly built America.
The concept and theme of my mural is about its origins and title, “28 Blocks,” which tells the story of how this powerful symbolic vision and iconic work of American public art was created.
The hauntingly yet perfectly sublime seated figure of President Lincoln was designed by famed American sculptor, Daniel Chester French in 1915.
In order to bring this vision to reality, 28 blocks of the finest white marble were needed to construct this the 150-ton statue that rises 30 feet from the floor.
Each block was blasted, wedged, and cut from a North Georgian mountainside in 1915–1916 by the sons and grandsons of African Slaves.
All 28 blocks were placed on rail cars and transported to the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx in NYC.
In their studio the Piccirilli Brothers were well known among American sculptors of era, six sons of an Italian immigrant named Giuseppe Piccirilli, who had studied under the great sculptors mastering the skills and traditions handed down from one generation to the next stretching back to the Renaissance and ancient Greece and Rome. He lovingly mentored this time-honored artistry and skills to his first generation of American sons.
With all their hands working in harmony and with pride of what it means to be free, they blasted, wedged, lifted, cut, chiseled, and polished each section so when completed, installed, and finally unveiled in 1922, its meaningful and powerful, seamless accomplishment stands to this day as one of the most recognizable symbols of American greatness!