What Does It Mean to Tear Down a Statue?

Just two weeks ago, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the largest humanities philanthropy in the United
States, pledged to spend $250 million over five years to help reimagine the country’s approach to monuments
and memorials, in an effort to better reflect the nation’s diversity and highlight buried or marginalized stories.
The grant is in response to the new iconoclasm taking place this summer and fall. Protesters have vandalized,
toppled, and advocated for the removal of statues of the leaders of the Confederacy in the United States, as
well as colonialists, slave traders, and imperialists in the United Kingdom and Europe. The destruction of
monuments is nothing new, occurring previously in the 8th and 9th centuries and again in the 16th century over
the appropriate use of religious icons. The
controversies in these earlier periods focused on the dangers of confusing representations with the actual
person or events they represented. The new iconoclasm focuses on the telling of national history and the larger
meaning of public space.
For this assignment, read the assigned pdf:
Jonah Engel Bromwich “What Does It Mean to Tear Down a Statue?”
New York Times (June 24, 2020)
Robin Pogrebin “Roosevelt Statue to Be Removed from Museum of Natural History”
New York Times (June 21, 2020)
Jacey Fortin “Toppling Monuments, A Visual History”
New York Times (August 17, 2017)
Second, watch the video – Meaning of the Monument – accompanying the 2019
‘Addressing the Statue’ exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History regarding
the James Earle Fraser Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt standing in front of the
museum, and read the short exhibition highlights:
“What did the artists and planners intend?”
“How is the statue understood today?”
“Perspectives on the statue”

Sample Solution