Monumental Mistakes? The Statue and its Discontents
For those concerned with the history of sculpture Robert Musil’s remark that “There is nothing in this world as invisible as a monument” has, alas, always rung very true.
But suddenly over the past three years, everyone is talking about statues. Except they are not. Instead, they are talking about the subjects these statues represent and the culpability of these historical figures for involvement in the slave trade and other crimes of various colonial pasts.
But in this talk four art historians will focus on an aspect of the current debate about statues that has received much less attention. This is the question about how statues work as representations and the roles played by the conventions and visual rhetoric they employ. How might the terms of the debate shift if more attention was paid to the aesthetics of the statue? Is there an opportunity to think about the aesthetics and politics of the monument together?
- Malcolm Baker, Art Historian, University of California, Riverside
- Frank Fehrenbach, Art Historian, Universität Hamburg
- Jeanette Kohl, Art Historian, University of California, Riverside
- Iris Wenderholm, Art Historian, Universität Hamburg
Lecture Hall H, Main Building
Edward Colston Memorial
Sculpture by John Cassidy (Foto: Ben Birchall/AP)