Thursday, December 16, 2010

On my bookshelf: "Monument Wars"

If you're looking for an interesting read, pick up a copy of Monument Wars: Washington, D. C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape. Here, Kirk Savage acutely addresses the notion of public space, history, and memory. He makes, in the closing pages, "A Modest Proposal" (I love the Swiftian ring to that....) that begins with a moratorium on new monuments in Washington for 10 years (excusing those spaces and monuments that have been grandfathered into creation). During this time, ephemeral monuments would take stage but the formula would be broadened to include installations and reinterpretations of the space. He states that this shifting of the ground from the permanent to the ephemeral would "alter the system treat the memorial landscape more as an open conversation than a quest for an immutable national essence." (p. 312).

As many of you know, I am involved in a group called "Public Art Dialogue", so the notion of an open space as a place for conversation, rather than formulated population of monuments and plop art, does intrigue me. In case you need convincing, consider the recent controversy at MOCA LA involving Italian muralist Blu.

1 comment:

Boris Zakic said...

Sounds interesting. Got a nice chuckle as l am amidst "The Invisibility of Pictures" essay, and applicably, it's a tripple-win formula, in this sense, for MOCA. Don't mean to sound clumsy, but this "dialogue-over-objects" just may replace the "dialogue-into-objects" ... good topic for the "icy" days ahead!