FOR THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES, “THE CITY OF OUR LADY QUEEN OF THE ANGELS ON THE RIVER PORCUNCULA”, TONY DUQUETTE, A NATIVE SON, CREATED A GIFT FOR THE CITY TO CELEBRATE ITS POETIC AND EVOCATIVE NAME. 

FOR THIS EXHIBITION, WHICH DUQUETTE CALLED “A CELEBRATIONAL ENVIRONMENT” WAS CREATED WITH THE HELP OF 150 UNSKILLED AND UNTRAINED VOLUNTEERS FROM EVERY ETHNIC AND ECONOMIC BACKGROUND.  THE ARTIST CREATED 8, TWENTY-EIGHT FOOT TALL ARCHANGELS, FOUR MAGNIFICENT ALTARS TO THE ELEMENTS – AIR, EARTH, FIRE AND WATER – AND A SERIES OF MONUMENTAL, JEWEL-STUDDED FABRIC MOSAIC TAPESTRIES.

HAVING BEEN GIVEN THE VAST ONE HUNDRED BY ONE HUNDRED FOOT HALL AT THE ARMORY LOCATED AT THE MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY AT EXPOSITION PARK IN LOS ANGELES, DUQUETTE SET OUT TO UNLEASH HIS LIMITLESS IMAGINATION.  FROM THE EIGHTY FOOT HIGH CEILING, DUQUETTE HUNG A WINGED HALO AND UNDER THAT HE PLACED A WINGED PAVILION WHICH HELD AN EIGHTEEN FOOT TALL MADONNA, DRESSED IN A GOWN WOVEN TO REPRESENT THE FOUR SEASONS, STUDDED WITH PEARLS AND DECORATED WITH BOUQUETS OF BEADED FLOWERS.

DUQUETTE SUCCEEDED IN CREATING AN EXHIBITION WHERE THE VIEWER WAS THE CENTER OF ATTENTION.  THERE WAS SPECIALLY COMPOSED MUSIC BY GARTH HUDSON, AND THE VOICE OF CHARLTON HESTON RECITING A POEM IN VERSE TO THE MADONNA, THE PATRONESS OF LOS ANGELES, WRITTEN BY RAY BRADBURY.  ALL OF THIS SET TO COMPUTERIZED LIGHTING AND SPECIAL EFFECTS WHICH MADE THE MADONNA’S FACE CHANGE FROM BLACK TO WHITE TO YELLOW THEN RED.

IN RESEARCHING ANGELS DUQUETTE DISCOVERED THAT EVERY MAJOR RELIGION IN THE WORLD BELIEVES IN THE SAME EIGHT ARCHANGELS – CATHOLIC, JEWISH, MOSLEM, BUDDHIST, HINDU, EVEN THE ANCIENT MAYANS, AZTECS AND INCA’S BELIEVED IN ANGELS WITH POWERS OVER THE ELEMENTS, WILD BEASTS, MUSIC AND OF COURSE DEATH.

THE EXHIBITION WAS GREETED BY POPULAR ACCLAIM AT TIMES SEEING AS MANY AS FOUR THOUSAND VISITORS EACH DAY.  AFTER THE RUN OF THE SHOW THE SCULPTURES AND TAPESTRIES WERE MOVED TO “THE DUQUETTE PAVILION” IN SAN FRANCISCO WHERE THEY WERE EXHIBITED.

THIS EXHIBITION WAS COMPLETELY DESTROYED IN A TRAGIC FIRE ALONG WITH THE BUILDING IN WHICH IT WAS HOUSED.

THE ALTAR OF THE AIR

THE QUEEN OF THE ANGELS STANDING 18 FEET TALL IN A WINGED PAVILION, WEARING A ROBE WOVEN TO REPRESENT THE FOUR SEASONS, EMBROIDERED WITH PEARLS AND DECORATED WITH BOUQUET OF BEAD FLOWERS.  HER FACE CHANGED ELECTRONICALLY TO REPRESENT THE FOUR FACES OF MAN – RED, WHITE, YELLOW AND BLACK.

THE ALTAR OF FIRE