Monument in response to Confederate statues unveiled in New York

Updated: Sep. 27, 2019 at 4:50 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A new monument created by artist Kehinde Wiley was unveiled in New York City’s Times Square on Friday. It will remain on display there until December, and will then be relocated to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Back in June, the museum announced its acquisition of Wiley’s massive sculpture - the most expensive acquisition of a sculpture in the museum’s history.

The monument is called “Rumors of War,” and Wiley built it in direct response to the Confederate monuments in Richmond and throughout the country.

“The sculpture itself is very much like Kehinde’s work,” said VMFA curator of modern and contemporary art, Valerie Cassel Oliver. “It is taken in terms of the frameworks from existing works of art, and in this case, it is directly modeled on the J.E.B. Stuart monument, which is located in Stuart Circle on Monument Avenue. The sculpture will be stationed right at the entryway to the museum, right off of North Arthur Ashe Boulevard. It will stand as a symbol as you enter into the museum. It really signals our way of saying that we are a space for everyone. We’re a space where new narratives are being created, and it will stand as an iconic image for the museum moving forward.”

Many Virginians were introduced to Wiley’s work in 2016 when the museum hosted an exhibit of his work called, “A New Republic.”

Wiley got a glimpse of Richmond's Confederate monuments during his visit to the city during that time.

"When he came, he was only to spend a day to give a lecture, and to attend the opening events," said Cassel Oliver. "We actually found out that he spent a week here in Richmond. He was really enamored with our Monument Avenue and our Boulevard, and that became the seed of this new monumental work."

Oliver is one of few people who has gotten a glimpse of the new monument.

“It is an African American person on a horse. The individual is a composite of many different individuals, both male and female,” said Oliver. “What it should inspire is a conversation and a dialogue. It is not created as a provocation. It is created as a means and a strategy and a tool by which we can broaden the conversation.”


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