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Patronage II: The Western World since 1900  
 
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The monument is composed of three polished pink granite triangles--each measuring 10 x 10 x 10 meters--placed some distance from one another. Each of the elements can be appreciated individually, but, together, they define a large triangle (36 meters on each side). A series of pink granite steps lead down to one triangle, which extends out into the canal. Another triangle is raised as an impressive dais. A third, which is contained within the pavement of the city square, is inscribed with a line from Jacob Israel de Haan (1881-1924), a gay Dutch poet: "Such an endless desire for friendship." Because urban life carries on among the dispersed elements, one might not immediately recognize them as a cohesive monument, but when one does, one is impressed by the scale of the whole.

Used by the Nazis to identify homosexuals in concentration camps, the pink triangle commemorates the sufferings of the Holocaust; the location of the monument near the Anne Frank House reinforces this meaning. The effectiveness of the memorial is indicated by the floral tributes that are spontaneously (and continuously) laid on the triangles by visitors. However, because an inverted version of the pink triangle was adopted as a symbol by the Gay Liberation movement in the 1970s, the predominant design element also affirms recent struggles for freedom. The openness of the monument to the surrounding city emphasizes its relevance to the present and the future.

Sponsor Message.

Beginning shortly after World War II, Dutch gay and lesbian groups discussed creating a public monument to Holocaust victims, but the idea had been allowed to languish. The immediate impetus for the project was the arrest in 1970 of gay activists who attempted to place a lavender wreath on the Dam Monument during the annual national memorial. Support for a glbtq Holocaust memorial grew throughout the 1970s.

Reflecting this sentiment, Bob Van Schijndel, a prominent member of the Pacifist Socialist Party, wrote a public letter in May 1979 to Mayor Polak, asking that he authorize a monument for the 200,000 gay and lesbian victims of the Holocaust. Although some members of the city council initially opposed this proposal, the pressure exerted by a coalition of Dutch gay and lesbian organizations helped to secure its approval later in 1979. Authorized by the city council, a committee (with representatives of various gay and lesbian organizations, the city government, and design professionals) devised a competition for the monument and unanimously selected Daan's design in 1981. Over the next several years, 180,000 euros were raised, primarily from individual donors, although the Amsterdam city council authorized 50,000 euros for the project. The Homomonument was unveiled on September 5, 1987, exactly 100 days after ground had been broken for it.

Cathedral of Hope, Dallas

With a ceiling one hundred feet above the altar, the Cathedral of Hope will be the largest glbtq memorial structure in the world, when completed according to the plans prepared by Philip Johnson in 1998.

This two-thousand seat sanctuary was commissioned by Dallas's Cathedral of Hope, then a congregation of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), a glbtq Protestant denomination, established in 1968 in Los Angeles. Founded on July 30, 1970 by twelve individuals meeting at a private house, the Dallas congregation grew rapidly. In July 2003, when the Dallas congregation voted to leave the MCC and to become an independent, liberal congregation, open to all the faithful, it numbered more than 2,000 members and supported an extensive program of social and health care services, as well as ministries to various Dallas communities. In 2006, the Cathedral afilliated with the United Church of Christ, one of the most gay-supportive of mainstream Christian denominations in the United States.

Philip Johnson was an appropriate choice for this important commission for several reasons. On a personal level, it is significant that he had acknowledged his homosexuality publicly only two years previously, after a lifetime of hiding in the closet. Although Johnson had long been a proclaimed agnostic, he had become increasingly involved with religion as he sought a way to cope with guilt relating to his support of Nazism during the early 1940s.

In the final years of his career, Johnson was becoming increasingly bold in his conception of forms; utilizing computer design, he was able to envision for the Cathedral an imaginative structure with great freedom of shape. Designed without any straight or parallel lines, the Cathedral incorporates many varied forms, which represent the diversity of the membership of the church. Creating an organic whole, the walls merge into floors and ceiling. The boldness and strength of the shapes of the Cathedral are intended to evoke the power of Spanish colonial missions without imitating them.

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