Tag: public art

When viewed collectively, these monuments—and the ceremonies surrounding them—offer significant insight into the changing views and attitudes of the St. Louis citizenry with regard to sectional reconciliation, illuminating the shifting memories and evolving history of the Civil War in Missouri and the political, social, and cultural implications of the bloody and divisive conflict.

Dell Upton follows up on the theme of his current book, What Can and Can’t Be Said: Race, Uplift, and Monument Building in the Contemporary South (Yale University Press) by asking a team of individuals critically engaged with public art, memory, and the nation about the recent debates around Confederate monuments and efforts to recognize histories of lynching.

A monument leads an unhappy life. The best it can hope for is to molder quietly under a mantle of pigeon droppings, for when the people or events it celebrates attract a critical eye, its travails begin. Because a monument holds up its subject to memory, even adulation, it is likely to suffer for the failings of the animate.