Edward Berenson


On his book The Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story

Cover Interview of May 06, 2012


As America’s most visible icon, the Statue of Liberty has always been vulnerable to commercial and political exploitation.  A great many advertisers have used it to hawk their products; politicians have made it a backdrop for their campaigns; celebrities, souvenir makers, and even a Las Vegas casino have had it serve their own unlofty designs.  Last fall, Lady Gaga joined in, appearing on a prominent magazine cover as a bikini-clad Statue of Liberty, her hair teased into the seven spokes of Liberty’s crown.

But despite these often crass and kitschy assaults, Bartholdi’s great green goddess has shrugged off every attempt to debase it.  Thanks to her timeless Neoclassical design and spectacular perch in New York harbor, the Statue of Liberty has maintained its dignity, its ability to represent cherished values and ideals.  If Lady Gaga can’t trivialize Lady Liberty, nothing can.