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Maybe Tilted Arc wasn't so bad after all

In visits to family in Austin I’ve been diverted by the extreme literal-mindedness of Texas public sculpture, for example a sculptural group on the grounds of the State Capitol (which of course is a common destination of school groups) that consists of lifesize replicas of 6 or 8 schoolchildren on a class outing. In Colorado it seems they’re literal-minded too, only the literalism has to do with presentations of ideals that guide the current moral and political order:

The upright head depicts the profile of an African-American woman looking out to the adjacent North Denver neighborhood. The second head, with the profile of a generic male, appears to be sinking into the ground.

[From the linked page, which includes images and more discussion from the artist.] Somehow the lifesize bronze steers and football coaches in Austin strike me as less schematic and more soulful. They’re more fun, and isn’t fun at least a rudimentary form of spirit?



How can the artist say that one figure is of an African-American woman? Hasn’t he heard? There is no such thing as race. Differences between groups are dwarfed by differences within groups. You cannot identify race by something as simplistic as an outline of a head. Etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

P.S. Gender is just a social construct, too, so how can he say that one statue is of a woman and another is of a man?