Kubrick's Rejected Monolith Became A Monument For The Queen

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Kubrick's Rejected Monolith Became A Monument For The Queen

In the mid-'60s, Stanley Kubrick was working presumably way too hard on what would become 2001: A Space Odyssey. You might remember that the film hinges pretty crucially on a huge, mysterious monolith, and even as a renowned auteur, Kubrick recognized that sculpture was not in his skill set, so he outsourced. Stanley Plastics was hired to build a 10-foot, two-ton, clear acrylic structure, but when Kubrick saw it on film, he realized transparency wasn't really the look he was going for.

It was kind of the opposite.

Mr. Plastics was like, "Well, I'm not carrying that thing back," so it sat in MGM's UK studio until they closed in 1970 and had an "everything must go" sale for film history. Artist Arthur Fleischmann, for some reason, said, "I will take the two-ton acrylic block, please," and proceeded to continue not using it for seven years until he got the commission to sculpt something up for Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee (the 25th anniversary of her having that name).

Having suddenly remembered that he had, it cannot be stressed enough, a two-ton block of acrylic just sitting around the studio, he carved a pretty crown into it and presented it to the Queen as a gift for ruling him so good. They actually built an entire structure, which they named the Coronation Chapel, to house the thing on London's St. Katharine Docks, where the Queen herself unveiled it to much fanfare between tea swimming and choreography parties or whatever they do to celebrate the Queen.

Kevan/Wikimedia Commons
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It's since been moved to its current location, seen above, on the nearby Tower Hotel wall in 2000 because the Coronation Chapel was undergoing a bit of a makeover. Specifically, they turned it into a Starbucks because this story, much like 2001, is rich with confusing symbolism.

Manna, regrettably, has a Twitter.

Top image: Kevan/Wikimedia Commons


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