Putting The 'High' in High Art: 'Horse and Rider' by Marino Marini

City Paper

Standing around these public spaces, I tried to overcompensate for my relaxed state by locking my legs and spine, shifting my weight frequently from one side to another. It was uncomfortable but exhilarating to be outside doing this at all, so I easily identified with Marini’s bronze statue in the Hirshhorn Museum’s Sculpture Garden. Every limb—the rider’s arms and legs, the horse’s legs, neck, even its tail stub—are spread and locked straight. But even in this stiff posture, the sculpture rises in joyous, forceful motion, like wind blowing up Marilyn Monroe’s skirt. As if shouting “FREEEEAADOOOOMMMMM!” the petite, naked rider leans back atop the saddleless horse, arms spread, embracing the gray air, like “Equus” but with less need for psychoanalysis. The rider looked like it would fall backward, either because of inertia created by the horse’s sudden halt or because he was letting himself fall. Despite its relevance, I actually spent little time with Marini’s sculpture (I think) because I had to go after a squirrel holding almost an entire slice of pizza. 

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