Grotesque, Woke Art in Public Spaces Is Next Phase in War on History, Culture
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Get used to grotesque works of “art” being injected into every public space.
Last week, an eight-foot-tall, golden statue was unveiled atop a New York state courthouse in New York City. It stands alongside several other, older statues of classical design.
According to the artist, Shahzia Sikander, the statue is meant to be a representation of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her support of abortion rights.
“She is a fierce woman and a form of resistance in a space that has historically been dominated by patriarchal representation,” the artist said in an interview with The New York Times.
Others saw it differently.
The Medusa-like statue was put up shortly after an even more mockable homage to Martin Luther King Jr. was unveiled recently in Boston for MLK Day. What’s going on here?
The first problem with much of our new public art is the most obvious: It’s hideous.
Some on the far left at least acknowledged that the Boston statue was awful and tried to make it out to be some conspiracy by white Americans to water down MLK’s legacy.
The only “conspiracy” here is that our woke institutions are actively promoting this sort of art to replace the history that’s been bulldozed over the past few years.
Mobs in the streets have been joined by the Jacobins on the inside who first demolished the old statues and are now creating new ones to “reflect 21st-century social mores.” They sure do. In that sense, the new art is a success.
These horrific, warped monstrosities of inferior quality that increasingly occupy public spaces do very much represent the values of our time—at least, the institutional values.
Tearing down the old statues now serves a dual purpose: It symbolizes the ideological revolution, but also prevents current and future generations from easily comparing the quality difference between the new and the old.
Seneca Scott, a cousin of Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife, Coretta, wrote a blistering article in Compact about how hideous and hollow the new MLK statue is.
“Building expensive, stupid new statues with no faces on them—and tearing down others for no good reason—are part of the same performative altruism and purity pageants that are mainstays of the woke left,” Scott wrote.
Unfortunately, they do have a purpose—a bad one.
The most important takeaway here is that the new statues and works of art are a part of “the great awokening” of public spaces.
The artist of the horned Ginsburg statue acknowledged as much. She said that her work was a part of a “historical reckoning.”
Sikander said that she was on the 2017 Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers in New York created under then-Mayor Bill de Blasio. Following the creation of the commission, the city looked at removing an iconic statue of Christopher Columbus and even briefly targeted Ulysses S. Grant’s tomb for possible expulsion.
Fortunately, Grant remains buried in his tomb for now, but the drive to remake public spaces continues apace.
“Trade, slavery, migration, colonial occupation—these are underlying currents, the root axes of modernity,” Sikander wrote. “How history is told, and who gets to tell it, exposes the hierarchies of power in our world.”
Here we get a glimpse into the worldview that has overtaken our institutions. The target is Western civilization itself—defined in the most negative light possible.
The message they are sending, as I explained in my book “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past,” is that everything the West—and especially the United States—built was created to oppress.
To the youngest generations, who have been force-fed this narrative through most of their lives, this must seem natural. The vast majority of Gen Z feels no pride in their country. Truth be told, what have we given them to feel proud of? Our schools have left generations bereft of historical and civic knowledge, and our cultural institutions have given them a steady diet of negativity or sheer lunacy.
Navel-gazing, narcissism, and self-identity worship have replaced achievement, gratitude, and genuine self-confidence.
The cultural revolutionaries of today are targeting the most fundamental aspects of Western societies. Our past is simply being rewritten and replaced.
Legitimacy under the new regime means affirming that revolution and promoting the newly ordained narrative.
But what’s to become of a society that glamorizes George Floyd and castigates George Washington? Instead of carefully building upon and improving our society as we once did, we’ve torn down the building blocks of what made it special and are replacing it with something completely different.
The new, monstrously ugly public art reflects that.
If we wish to recapture that old way of looking to the future, we need to reelevate what is good.
That’s how we fight back against the cultural revolutionaries. Give Americans an alternative to think about, respect, and admire. Create art that reflects reality, human nature, and the higher aspirations for civilization.
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