Macho Monument Still a Great Piece

by "Tex"
(Texas, of course)

some really big horses

some really big horses

I read that your web site thinks the era of monuments is over. I'm sending my fave public art from the Bush (the first) Library to show you're wrong. This sculpture is by someone named Goodnight I think but it says FREE FREE SET THEM FREE on a piece from the Berlin wall. It's all about freedom and what a heroic thing that is. This proves that monumental themes for public art are not a thing of the past, at least if you care about freedom.

Editors Reply:
Thank you for sending this photo. You make a great point with your example of this particular sculpture, which indeed is monumental in size, subject matter, and historic reference.

When we said that the era of monumental art is over, perhaps we were oversimplifying. In general, we do think the trend is away from monuments, traditional war heroes, and hugely serious subject matter, but that is only a trend and not an observation that will hold true in every instance.

This particular setting seeks to elucidate the history of a presidency and the major event of his term, namely the sudden and dramatic dismantling of the Berlin Wall. This subject matter truly is heroic and epic, so it is very appropriate for the sculptor to evoke the war and peace heroes of other eras.

Since you are in Texas, we will call attention also to the fact that this library is in Texas and celebrates the life of a Texan. The horses are part of the lore of the American West, and tying the fall of the Berlin Wall to the hero on a horse is a nice piece of interpretation. We in the U.S. seem to demand that our public art right now be quite easy and obvious to interpret.

So Tex, maybe both of us could be right. You have shown us all an example of monumental art in the present day, and yet our main point that monumental art is mostly a thing of the past still stands. We don't think this is a matter of politics, as you perhaps do. However, your point that public art is quite varied is a valid one.

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