A statue of Theodore Roosevelt that depicts the former president on horseback flanked by a Native American man and an African man will be removed from the steps of the American Museum of Natural History, officials announced on Sunday. The decision to take down the statue, which local activists have requested for years, comes as a renewed discourse about racism and racist symbols continues to grow across the country following the death of George Floyd last month.
Design by Amanda Matthews; courtesy of RIOC
The design of a new memorial honoring investigative journalist Nellie Bly has been officially unveiled. Tapped by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, artist Amanda Matthews of Prometheus Art presented during a town hall last month “The Girl Puzzle” memorial, which will feature sculptures of Bly and four faces of women and girls who she interviewed. The memorial, whose design was first spotted by THE CITY, will be installed in late 2020 at the tip of Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island.
As part of the city’s plan to diversify public art and recognize figures overlooked by history in New York City, Central Park is getting another statue, as the New York Times reports. The privately-funded monument will commemorate Seneca Village, the predominantly black community that was thriving until the 1850s in what became Central Park. Once again, however, the city’s commemorative statue planning has fallen afoul of historians. The proposed structure won’t be located at the site of Seneca Village, which for nearly three decades stretched between West 83rd and 89th streets in Central Park. Instead, the monument’s home will be in the park, but 20 blocks to the north on 106th street.
A 1/3 size clay model of the statue; Photo by Michael Bergmann
New York City’s most famous park will get a new statue honoring women for the first time ever. The city’s Public Design Commission on Monday approved a design for a new Central Park monument that depicts women’s rights activists, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Set to debut next summer on the 100th-anniversary of the 19th amendment’s ratification, the statue’s approval comes as the city looks to address the lack of women honored in public spaces. Currently, all 23 historical monuments in Central Park are of men.
Image via Governor Cuomo’s Flickr
Despite garnering the most votes in a public poll, Mother Frances Cabrini will not be memorialized as part of the She Built NYC program run by First Lady Chirlane McCray. Controversy has followed the decision to not include Cabrini in recent days, with Mayor Bill de Blasio stepping in to suggest she would be a contender in future editions of the program during The Brian Lehrer Show last Friday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded by calling the decision an “affront” to the Italian-American community. During Monday’s Columbus Day Parade, the governor announced a new state commission that will lead the creation of a separate memorial for Cabrini.
Rumors of War © Kehinde Wiley. Used by permission. Presented by Times Square Arts in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Art and Sean Kelly, New York. Photographer: Kylie Corwin for Kehinde Wiley.
The artist widely known for his portrait of former President Barack Obama unveiled last week his first public sculpture. Nigerian-American visual artist Kehinde Wiley’s “Rumors of War“ will be on display in Times Square until December. Standing 27 feet high, the artwork features a young African American man dressed in ripped jeans and a hoodie sitting on a horse, a direct response to the controversial Confederate monuments found all over the United States.
photos © 6sqft
It’s been nearly two years since artists Gillie and Marc first revealed their “Statues for Equality” project. Noting that less than three percent of all NYC statues are of women, the husband-and-wife public art specialists created a series of 10 bronze sculptures of inspirational women who were voted on by the public–Oprah Winfrey, P!nk, Nicole Kidman, Jane Goodall, Cate Blanchett, Tererai Trent, Janet Mock, Tracy Dyson, Cheryl Strayed, and Gabby Douglas. Monday, on Women’s Equality Day, the statues were unveiled in front of RXR’s Realty’s 1285 Avenue of the Americas (h/t Untapped Cities).
The original design. Photo by Tia Richards for 6sqft
Last year’s unveiling of designs for the first statue in Central Park’s 165-year history that depicts real historic women–a sculpture of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony–was met with mixed reviews: Why didn’t the statue, set to be dedicated in August of 2020, marking the 100th anniversary of nationwide women’s suffrage, include any of the many African-American women who aided in the cause? Today it was announced that a redesigned statue honoring pioneering women’s rights advocates will include Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth, an escaped slave and abolitionist who joined the fight for women’s rights.
An investigative journalist who exposed the horrible conditions of a New York City insane asylum will be honored with a memorial. In 1887, reporter Nellie Bly went undercover at the Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum, located on what is now Roosevelt Island, and documented the cruel treatment of women being held there. Her six-part investigative piece, “Ten Days in a Mad-House,” led to major changes, including increased funding for the asylum and removal of abusive staff members. To recognize her achievements, a monument will be erected next year on Roosevelt Island.
Wittenberg Triangle, the proposed location for the monument honoring Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Image via Google Earth.
Days before the start of Pride Month, the city announced on Thursday that the next She Built NYC monument will honor two transgender activists, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, key leaders in the Stonewall Uprising that sparked the gay and LGBTQ rights movement in America. The monument is currently planned for Ruth Wittenberg Triangle in the heart of the Village and near other important LGBTQ neighborhood landmarks including the Stonewall Inn. The city is seeking artists interested in creating the public monuments honoring Johnson and Rivera in an open call.