One of the strangest additions to the park was a full-size Gothic cathedral, designed by Charles Leveque of Amiens. Its intent was to afford suitable exhibition space for a number of arts connected with such a setting. There was a collection of altars, representing styles from the twelfth century onwards; a grand organ by the master organ builder of the nineteenth century, Cavaillé-Coll; painted glass, chandeliers, candelabra, ivory figurines and wax images of saints. The total effect, all writers agreed, was quite lovely. But the unintentional symbolism of the placement of this cathedral equated it with the Egyptian temples and cast-iron light houses which surrounded it. The Catholic religion, as embodied in its most venerable form, the Gothic cathedral, is thus reduced to the level of one exhibit among many. The profane setting of the building in the park thereby replaced its sacred connotations with historical ones. Visitors entered Leveque's edifice, not to worship, but to study. Appreciation of styles took precedence over worship. The church, once the sponsor of fairs, now itself becomes a fair exhibit.
In the post-WWII era, Abstract Expressionism moved the center of Western art from Paris to New York City. One of the primary influences in the rise of abstraction, the critic Clement Greenberg , had supported de Kooning's early abstract work. Despite Greenberg's advice, the artist, who had begun as a figurative painter, returned to the human form in early 1950 with his Woman series . Although having some references to the traditions of single female figures, the women were portrayed as voracious, distorted, and semi-abstract. According to the artist, he wanted to "create the angry humor of tragedy"; having the frantic look of the atomic age, a world in turmoil, a world in need of comic relief. Later, he said "Maybe ... I was painting the woman in me. Art isn't a wholly masculine occupation, you know. I'm aware that some critics would take this to be an admission of latent homosexuality ... If I painted beautiful women, would that make me a non-homosexual? I like beautiful women. In the flesh—even the models in magazines. Women irritate me sometimes. I painted that irritation in the Woman series. That's all." Such ideas could not be expressed by pure abstraction alone.  Some critics, however, see the Woman series as misogynistic . 
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