Monumental Misrememberings: Photographs and Statues of Contested Histories

When: September 19, 2020–February 14, 2021

About the Show

Fons Americanus
Fons Americanus, 2019
Kara Walker (American, b. 1969)
Purchase, Betsy Mudge Wilson, class of 1956, Memorial Fund, 2020

The building and dismantling of public monuments has a long history that stretches across the globe. In recent years, escalating economic inequality, a legacy of systemic racism, and political divisiveness in the United States have fueled intense public debates over who belongs and who holds the majority of power. Monuments, which often convey the idea that history is made by particular individuals, are seen by some as symbols of European colonialism and North American white supremacy and have been the focal point for much conflict and political unrest.

This exhibition features two small versions of larger statues that call into into question the authority and validity of monuments that celebrate imperialism. Also on view is a slide presentation of recent photographs that document citizens in various cities protesting, defacing, or destroying monuments that are seen as symbols of historical oppression. Monumental Misrememberings is meant to promote dialogue around past events as well as current political aspirations. What would it look like to create public monuments that reckon with our past but also celebrate the diversity of our present? The Monumental Misrememberings: Photographs and Statues of Contested Histories exhibition is available to view online.

Vassar College

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