Everyman*

*The Somonyng of Everyman (The Summoning of Everyman), usually referred to simply as Everyman, is a late 15th-century morality play. Like John Bunyan’s 1678 Christian novel The Pilgrim’s Progress, Everyman uses allegorical characters to examine the question of Christian salvation and what Man must do to attain it.

From The New York Times of March 12, 2020:

“J. Seward Johnson Jr., a sculptor who may be responsible for more double takes than anyone in history thanks to his countless lifelike creations in public places — a businessman in downtown Manhattan, surfers at a Florida beach, a student eating a sandwich on a curb in Princeton, N.J. — died on Tuesday at his home in Key West, Fla. He was 89.

His family said through a spokesman that the cause was cancer.

Mr. Johnson had another distinction besides his art. As a member of the family that founded Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical and consumer products giant, he was one of six siblings who, in a high-profile court case in the 1980s, sought to overturn his father’s will, which left his vast fortune to a former maid, Barbara Piasecka Johnson, whom the senior Mr. Johnson had married late in life. A settlement was reached just before the case went to the jury, giving the children a share of the estate but leaving most of it to Mrs. Johnson.

But more enduring were the sculptures, which often caught passers-by unawares; many would pause for a closer look and, in the cellphone age, a picture. One sculpture in particular became something more than a curiosity. It was a work Mr. Johnson called “Double Check”: a seated businessman reviewing the contents of his briefcase.

The sculpture was in Liberty Park near the World Trade Center when the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, left the area in ruins. Many other artworks in the buildings and outside were destroyed that day, but the man with the briefcase, though knocked off his perch, survived, covered in debris.

The sculpture is so lifelike that firefighters are said to have tried to rescue it. It became a makeshift memorial — a symbol of endurance to some, a reminder of the bodies never recovered to others. In 2006 it was installed in the newly named Zuccotti Park, not far from its original spot.

“I thought of him as a businessman Everyman — with his briefcase — getting ready for his next appointment, and people identified with him,” Mr. Johnson told The New York Times in 2005. “So when he survived, it was as if he was one of them — surviving as well.”…”

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