In the wake of the tragic events in Charlottesville, South Carolina, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an 18 person Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers, who would start a 90-day review of controversial statues and monuments in the city, to determine whether or not they are oppressive, or symbols of hate. Now, the City has launched an online survey for New Yorkers to voice their opinion on public monuments.
The survey asks about opinions on the role of monuments in public space, factors that the Advisory Commission should take into account when reviewing a monument, if informational plaques should be added, new art should be commissioned, or if certain monuments should be moved from public to private spaces. Those who take the survey will also have space to write about specific monuments that they find to be representative of oppression or hate.
Over the past few months, several controversial city monuments have been vandalized. The monument to Christopher Columbus in Central Park was hit in early September, the hands covered in red paint, and the message, “hate will not be tolerated,” graffitied at the base, followed with “#SomethingsComing.” Similarly, a few days ago, the base of the statue of Teddy Roosevelt outside the American Museum of Natural History was doused in red paint, a group called the Monument Removal Brigade taking responsibility.
Members of the Advisory Commission include Michael Arad, the architect and designer behind the World Trade Center Memorial; Gonzalo Casals, the director of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art; Audra Simpson, Mohawk anthropologist and Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University; John Kuo Wei Then, Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program and Institute at NYU; and John Calvelli, Vice-Chair of International Affair of the National Italian American Foundation and Executive Vice President for Public Affairs at the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The survey will be open until November 26th, 11:59PM, and is available at the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers website.
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