Without getting political here, I wonder when art stops being regarded as art? Who should make that decision?
Stone Mountain Monument in Georgia is the largest high relief sculpture in the world. It took 3 lead sculptors 20 years to complete the project. The first sculptor was Gutzon Borglum who later left the project and went on to carve Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.
This Memorial Carving, depicts three Confederates: Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson. The entire carved surface measures three-acres, towers 400 feet above the ground, measures 90 by 190 feet, and is recessed 42 feet into the mountain.
Is this art? Do you think this carving should be permanently erased or preserved for future generations?
It's definitely art. But art doesn't get to be protected just because it's art.
If somebody paints a beautiful masterpiece that says, "We should kill or enslave all people of color," it is art, but it also shouldn't be put in a public place (and that person should be prosecuted for speech that incites violence).
Reading the speeches given and correspondence written by the men whose likenesses are carved into that mountain explaining why they were leading their armies makes me physically ill. Their statements were shocking to me. What they fought for has no place in civilized society.
I have no problem with memorials, plaques, or even a statue in memory of confederate soldiers in general. Many of the rank and file were only fighting for their homeland against the "northern aggression" and had no idea what it was actually about. Brothers fought and killed their own brothers. This is an event in US history that we in this country should remember forever so that we dare not repeat it.
I do, however, have a problem with heroic statues honoring the leaders who led the fight to enslave others. For most of my life, I felt that those statues were just part of southern heritage and folks in the south just wanted to honor their past. After having some deep discussions in recent years with people of color that I am friends with, I realize it has a very different meaning for them. And this past weekend proves that that is not what those statues stand for at all.
I was fairly ambivalent before. I'm dead set against them now. Move them to museums perhaps where it can be properly contextualized and remembered, but they do not belong in public places of honor.
Szalam wroteI do, however, have a problem with heroic statues honoring the leaders who led the fight to enslave others. For most of my life, I felt that those statues were just part of southern heritage and folks in the south just wanted to honor their past. After having some deep discussions in recent years with people of color that I am friends with, I realize it has a very different meaning for them. And this past weekend proves that that is not what those statues stand for at all.
Just so you understand, I have no love of Confederate statutes or flags.
As a youth, I spent a few summers in Kentucky when separate but equal was still enforced. At the house I stayed in, people of color had to eat from separate dishes. In town, they ate at separate lunch counters and drank from separate pubic water fountains smeared with black grease denoting the difference between fountains for whites and fountains for blacks. When I asked why their fountains were filthy, I was told blacks could not read signs. It made me sick.
Move them to museums perhaps where it can be properly contextualized and remembered, but they do not belong in public places of honor.
But how do you move a mountain? Or a huge relief carved into a mountain side? I don't know if that's logistically possible.
Is this art? Do you think this carving should be permanently erased or preserved for future generations?
yes its art... I don't care what they do with it one way or the other but I'm Australian so I'm prob not the best person to make that choice
It is art, and to try and erase what those people said and did from history runs the risk of history repeating itself if people forget. Only by remembering such people and events we can hopefully avoid or at least limit the prejudices of the past.
I agree that it would be best if such things were moved to a museum, or art gallery.
Then again i am British and live in the u/k, so my perspective will be different to those in the usa.
I'm a Texan born and raised and proud to be. I've never tried to place myself in any confederate soldiers shoes or sprite but in my heart I believe that had I lived in that time I would have answered the call to arms and possibly died in their cause right or wrong. Although slavery is mainly thought to be the reason for the civil war there were other mitigating factors leading up to it. For instance; Business and industry in the North pressuring the South for more and more food and resources to feed their intense need for industry to turn the raw materials into exportable goods and products for trade overseas in Europe. Yet not willing to pay for increases in the price set by farmers and plantations owners and willfulness not to share in the profits the North was making. But you don't hear much said about that nowadays as it's pretty much been swept under the carpet bagger's rug as is said. Now we're relating slavery to art in the form of statues and monuments. To me that's like blaming the gun for murder in place of the actual murderer. It is art and that's all that it will ever be. We are to blame for attributing something more than need be. That's a beautiful picture you posted Nancy, I wish I had the talent to create something like that carving of anything.
Another thing that seems to be lost in the cloud of rhetoric is the fact that the slave trade began when one African tribe would capture members of another tribe and sell them into slavery... does NOT make the practice anything other than horrible, but without war and slavery in Africa, there would not have been any slaves to load on sailing ships to other countries
Thank you John, i did not want to point that out as the last time i did, (not in the adobe forums) someone became very abusive.
If someone here wants to become abusive over the historical facts about one part of the horrible slave trade, that is their problem
Just as it is the problem of people here in the US who blame Mexico or countries in South America for the drug trade and US drug problems, while not mentioning that there would be NO drug trade if people in the US were not buying
noun: art; plural noun: arts; plural noun: the arts
the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
note the word BEAUTY
noun: beauty; plural noun: beauties
a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.
note the word AESTHETICS
noun: aesthetics; noun: esthetics
a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty, especially in art.
•the branch of philosophy that deals with the principles of beauty and artistic taste.
note the word BEAUTY
Now we are back to the original question, What is art ?
GOES IN CIRCLES
It is obviously a cyclical occupation where words cannot express what is being observed by humans (made by nature and humans), which is why we sing songs, make movies, write books, compose operas, choreograph dances, and sit around together in harmony at campsites or in the living room with friends. And build schools, churches, and towns. Let's allow the children's children to decide and take a breather, what art means.
Another thing that seems to be lost in the cloud of rhetoric is the fact that the slave trade began when one African tribe would capture members of another tribe and sell them into slavery...
Slavery in various forms has been around for thousands & thousands of years. It was a pervasive way of life in ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, China and many other regions. Humans have had a lot of practice exploiting their fellow human beings, often in unspeakable & atrocious ways. North America is certainly not the first or last offender.
It's fair to say that the wounds of our past 150 years are still very much with us. We must remain sensitive to that. But are we allowing ourselves to get so caught up in what offends us today that we're losing sight of what might be important tomorrow?
I remember feeling outrage & sadness when ISIS desecrated ancient ruins in Nimrud purely for religious reasons. The Taliban considered the monuments idolatrous & deeply offensive to their beliefs. Solution: Identify what offends me and destroy it with dynamite. Problem solved.
I have only been to Georgia once—on a business trip—and was unaware of this monument. So I just now read about how it came to be, and the involvement of the KKK. It made me feel sick. It's a monument to their hatred and prejudices.
Worse, the Stone Mountain website chooses to ignore the ugly beginnings.
From what I have been reading the past few days, most of the Confederate monuments sprang up about the same time, after D. W. Griffith's silent film Birth of a Nation and during the renewal of the Nazis. They are monuments to hate and bigotry. They came up long after the Civil War itself.
I look at this monument and think about all of the black people who have been lynched and young Matthew Shepard and Heather Heyer and I am quite happy to see it go.
This book is worth reading ( I read the reader's digest large print version recently).
Don't believe any reviews about this thing...you have to read yourself because it is so much more than what reviews say.
Does a lot to explain the period of time in question from a very human POV.
'Dear Senator' 'A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond' By Essie Mae Washington-Williams and William Stadiem Illustrated. 223 pages.
Here is an article with a graph that explains it better. The creation of this monument at Stone Mountain falls into the timeline of when most of these monuments were created—during the KKK resurgence, the Jim Crow laws, and lynchings. The intent was to symbolize white power against blacks.
This is just one of the articles that has come up about when and why these monuments of intimidation were created.
I'm familiar with the monument's history. And I appreciate your input.
So what you're saying is the early 20th century hate-group values that gave rise to Stone Mountain Monument are so offensive as to negate any other redeeming value the relief carving may hold for future generations -- artists, art historians, scholars & students of the Jim Crow & civil rights movement era.
I wish I could be so certain of that. Which is why I posted this discussion.
Obviously, blasting a hole into Stone Mountain is not going to erase what happened nor will it make ethnic & racial hatred, bigotry or white supremacists disappear. That's a nuch, much bigger issue.
I would be willing to bet that Native Americans would see Mount Rushmore as a symbol of racist repression
That thought also crossed my mind, John. When we start blowing up memorials, we open a Pandora's box of precedent for any & all groups.
It's unclear if slaves really built the pyramids. But there is no doubt slaves helped build the Colosseum. And no doubt about the serious level of carnage that took place there. About 1/2-million people many of them slaves and 1 million animals were needlessly slaughtered for amusement. It's a reminder of an awful time in history and a modern-day symbol against capital punishment & the death penalty.
I think we have gone slightly off-topic, but to get back to the original question of , 'is it art'?
It does not really matter if it is art or not, what does matter is what it represents, and if it should be on public display.
I would say leave it as is. My reasons for that are that once we start removing any works of art that may cause offence, we start to remove the reasons behind the creation of them, be those reasons good or bad. The important thing is that we remember that it was created, and provide the opportunity for others to learn from it.
I'm not saying we should promote the reasons behind the creation of such items, but if we destroy them as some wish to do, then people will start to deny that what happened all those years ago, ever actually happened. We are seeing this now in Europe when it comes to the holocaust as the evidence starts to fade from living memory, with some starting to doubt it ever actually happened.
Also not to point out the obvious, but if ancient history is to be belived should we not also destroy the Pyramids in Egypt, the colosseum in Rome, and just about every other building or artwork from ancient times, as slavery was common throughout the world right up to the 18th century.
Even today it still exists.
My family not having immigrated to the US until 1876, and growing up where there were not many black people, I'll have to admit I wouldn't understand as much as someone who grew up under Jim Crow and in the shadow of these statues.
The community has changed and those statues are no longer wanted. Just as the earlier generation put them up as an intimidating reminder of those times, a new generation can decide to remove them. The craftsmanship is not the point. Happens in many countries.
They recently removed four Baltimore confederate monuments in the middle of the night.
Some are waiting to see if they will show up in Indianapolis.
Art is subjective. Just because an individual opinion does not believe something isn't art, doesn't mean it should be taken down, ie, "you think it's ugly." The only exception is when a society/country has progressed, and feel that said art symbolizes a past generation of beliefs that are no longer applicable. However, one could argue that said statue should stay as a reminder not to revert back to negative cultures.
in any event its up to America to figger out who they want to worship, believe and follow... if the people decide to distroy their statues and or burn their books then I think that is sad but their right and their business.
Removing statues, or anything else considered "monuments" does absolutely nothing for America, if our hearts remain filled with propaganda and hatred. We have advanced so much in regards to technology, I honestly don't think removing an "symbolized object" will do a damn thing.....
I've been following the events in relation to the statue for some time now, and I have to agree it is art, it took someones time, skills and sweat to create a masterpiece such as Nancy's Pic here. I am from the Pacific, our ancestors were taken as slaves to Australia working in the sugar cane plantation and left there. Now they are proudly living in Australia as citizens, they do not look back to the past with hate at what the Black Birders did to our ancestors but appreciate what we have at present, but still remember where we truly came from.
I am not saying Americans should do the same, we all have different ways of seeing things,but be reminded that they are not the only ones who had to suffer as slaves, all black people were slaves. but we should be proud that as slaves our ancestors built their citites, changed the course of history. so let them have their monuments, like this particular fellow, he lost the war.
If there are those who support slavery in the present times, then we can say they are stupid, uncivilised and still in the dark ages.
soo to answer your question Nancy OShea this is art, to remove or not to remove will entirely be up to the Americans, but as a descendant of once slaves, I say leave the monuments they are History, it is the neo-nazi and KKK we should be worrying about.
"If there are those who support slavery in the present times, then we can say they are stupid, uncivilized and still in the dark ages."
While I agree with you, I don't think it's as simple as just calling people who think that way stupid. It is far more complicated than what people are willing to devote time to realize. And when I say complicated, I don't mean the actual act of hate, but the mentality (or shall I say "programming" that produced that hate). That's way indoctrination is so dangerous. Indoctrination doesn't just apply to religion. Unfortunately, we still have huge societies that still live in a giant bubble.