“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Seattle in King County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)

Lenin in Fremont

Art Outlives Politics

Lenin in Fremont Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 22, 2015
1. Lenin in Fremont Marker
Inscription.  Seen by most as one of the most controversial art pieces in Fremont; the sculpture of Lenin reminds us that art outlives politics — a stalwart reminder of egregious policy not to be repeated.

One of A Kind
Weighing over 7 tons, the sculpture, designed by Slavic artist Emil Venkov, took ten years to complete and was installed in Poprad, Slovakia in 1988, only to be toppled by revolution in 1989. It is unique; we believe it is the only representation portraying Lenin surrounded by guns and flames instead of holding a book or waving his hat. The sculptor, while fulfilling the requirements of his state commission, was nevertheless able to express his vision of Lenin as a violent revolutionary, not just as an intellectual and theoretician.

History of Lenin in Fremont
Lewis Carpenter

While teaching in Poland, American veteran Lewis Carpenter discovered the sculpture lying face down in the mud. Carpenter recognized the skill and craftsmanship of Venkov, as well as the boldness of his portrayal. Determined to preserve the statue, Carpenter mortgaged his house to acquire it and brought it back to his home in Issaquah, Washington.

Carpenter had dreams of making the statue a centerpiece for the Slovakian restaurant he wanted to open. Instead, he died in a car accident in 1994, leaving his debt and the disposition of the statue to his family. They settled upon an agreement with Fremont community representatives to site the sculpture here for the work to be seen and enjoyed,
Lenin Statue and Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 22, 2015
2. Lenin Statue and Marker
Written in permanent marker on the column facing the camera: “Bloodthirsty tyrant Murdered 40 million souls. Repudiate him! —Aia”
as Carpenter wished, and hopefully to find it a permanent home.

On the Move
Originally, the sculpture came to reside in Fremont near the northwest corner of Evanston Ave N & N 34th St (currently the Red Door Alehouse), on a parking lot used as overflow for Fremont Sunday Market vendors. Record winter rainfall, in 1996-7, caused the ground under the parking lot to destabilize. Structural engineers advised the property owner that removing the 8-ton bronze paperweight would effectively prevent a slide. Eventually, the property would be fully reinforced when the Red Door located there in 2001.
Still promoting the temporary nature of the exhibit, and its future replacement with other large art works for purchase, local artists and activists convinced another property manager to allow installation of a permanent pedestal on which to display art, beginning with Lenin. Fortunately for Fremont organizers, the Mayor of Seattle, Paul Schell, came through the neighborhood the day of the cement pour and signed his name to the pedestal project. The 16-ft (5m) sculpture relocated to this site in 1997, awaiting a buyer.

Is Lenin for Sale?
At its original installation, in 1995, the statue carried a sign asking for $150,000, Or-Best Offer. In 2001, the price reportedly had gone up to $250,000. In 2008, the agent for the Carpenter family reported that the price had, inexplicably, increased to $300,000. Offers buy the sculpture to melt down the bronze have been refused. Still owned by Lewis Carpenterís family, the family is still considering offers for sale and a permanent home for this controversial piece.

Lenin - Right Or Wrong?
The mere presence of this sculpture evokes very strong reactions. If artists seek
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, alias Lenin (1870–1924) image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 22, 2015
3. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, alias Lenin (1870–1924)
1988 bronze by Emil Venkov stands 16 feet tall and weighs more than 7 tons. It was originally installed in Poprad, éilina Kraj, Slovakia.
to create emotion and reaction, Venkov and the Fremont community can claim success almost daily. Many recall the sufferings caused by Leninís policies, and see the statue as an affront, while others celebrate the triumph of capitalism and whimsy over Soviet oppression.

The sculpture, and its installation here, continually launches dialogues about history, art and the differences between Lenin, Stalin and John Lennon (although even when masked with the features of the beloved Beatle, Venkovís sculpture really canít pull a resemblance.)

Lenin, even in bronze and often decorated with little regard to the dignity of a dead stator, continues to cause controversy.
Erected by Fremont Chamber of Commerce.
Location. 47° 39.079′ N, 122° 21.056′ W. Marker is in Seattle, Washington, in King County. Marker is at the intersection of Fremont Place North and North 35th Street and Evanston Avenue North, on Fremont Place North. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Seattle WA 98103, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Fremont Troll (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fremont Bridge (approx. 0.3 miles away); Seattle Fisherman's Memorial (approx. 1.4 miles away); De La Mar Apartments (approx. 1.7 miles away); You're Now a Part of History (approx. 1.9 miles away); George Washington (approx. 1.9 miles away); Mural at Bergen Place (approx. 2 miles away); Ballard Avenue Historic District / Ballard City Hall Bell (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Seattle.
Also see . . .
1. Statue of Lenin, Seattle. “The statue was constructed by a Bulgarian sculptor residing in
Vladimir Lenin image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 22, 2015
4. Vladimir Lenin
Slovakia, Emil Venkov, under commission from the Soviet and Czechoslovak governments. While following the bounds of his commission, Venkov intended to portray Lenin as a bringer of revolution, in contrast to the traditional portrayals of Lenin as a philosopher and educator. His Lenin marches ahead fiercely, surrounded by torrid flames and symbols of war.” (Submitted on May 24, 2015.) 

2. Vladimir Lenin entry in Wikipedia. The Bolsheviks fought in the Russian Civil War during which Leninís government carried out the Red Terror. The civil war resulted in millions of deaths. Lenin supported world revolution and immediate peace with the Central Powers, agreeing to a punitive treaty that turned over a significant portion of the former Russian Empire to Germany. The treaty was voided after the Allies won the war. In 1921 Lenin proposed the New Economic Policy, a mixed economic system of state capitalism that started the process of industrialisation and recovery from the Civil War. In 1922, the Russia joined former territories of the Russian Empire in becoming the Soviet Union, with Lenin as its head of government. Only 13 months later, after being incapacitated by a series of strokes, Lenin died at his home in Gorki.” (Submitted on May 24, 2015.) 
Categories. 20th CenturyArts, Letters, MusicPolitics

More. Search the internet for Lenin in Fremont.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 24, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 444 times since then and 28 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week June 7, 2015. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 24, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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