A few times before I have visited the well known Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. Recently, I have gone again and this time actually took a second to take in the sight of the public art work located on the intersection of Hollywood and La Brea commonly referred to as The Four Silver Ladies. This stainless steel art deco gazebo is officially known as “The Hollywood and La Brea Gateway.” On the bottom of the gazebo stands four well known actresses: Dorothy Dandridge, Anna May Wong, Dolores del Rio, and Mae West. Atop their heads is the Hollywood letters and at the very tip top is a statue of Marilyn Monroe posed in her skirt blowing scene from The Seven Year Itch.
It was originally designed by Catherine Hardwicke to be a “tribute to the multi-ethic women of Hollywood.” Upon looking at the gazebo, there is nothing that really drives home the idea of the diversity of women in Hollywood. With a quick glance at the sculpture, all that is really visible are four voluptuous women in dresses with their hands on their hips bending slightly forward in sexually hinting positions. Yes the actresses chosen to be in the piece all had different ethnic backgrounds; however, many critics agree that the faces were poor representations of the real actresses. Although this artist had good intentions, I feel as if Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight couldn’t be any more spot on in saying that “Sex, as a women’s historic gateway to Hollywood couldn’t be more explicitly described.”