Philadelphia’s Drexel University recently acquired a piece of art that is a monument to no one. The “art” features a pillar on its side and two rectangles. According to a Drexel University news release, Monument in Waiting is “Comprised of reclaimed stone plinths and granite tiles devoid of a figure” and “evokes a dismantled public forum.”
The school’s release also stated: “The work responds to ongoing dialogue about preservation and erasure, collective memory and public scrutiny of historical figures and monuments, particularly those that reinforce systems of oppression.”
The piece was created by University of Chicago professor and “multidisciplinary artist” Theaster Gates, who is “concerned with matters of justice and equity and capital and labor,” according to . (Wikipedia calls Gates an “American social practice installation artist.”)
The paper noted that “ was created during the turbulent summer of 2020 when Black lives were lost.” Oddly, the Inquirer didn’t highlight the fact that other lives were lost, police were being routinely attacked, and cities were being burned and looted.
Philadelphia itself used to be called the “City of Brotherly Love,” a notion laughable today. The city sports 67 National Historic Landmarks, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. How long all these will remain only time will tell. There are many who would like to see every vestige of America’s founding erased or destroyed.
A monument to no one is fitting for a time when we have lost our collective memory and now routinely trash those that came before us, a time when we see more anti-heroes than heroes. A time when too many of us have come to believe in nothing. When we put our faith in so-called human experts, crackpot post-modern ideas, ignorant celebrities, and fabricated history rather than in God and thousands of years of accrued wisdom.
So actual monuments to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson come down, and figurative ones to Dr. Fauci and Beyoncé are erected. Many lionize repeat criminal George Floyd and demonize Judge Clarence Thomas. Women have been removed from their pedestal so “trans women” can replace them.
And it is no coincidence that churches are closing or burning down, while marijuana dispensaries and gambling outlets are going up apace.
For 235 years, we in the formerly United States of America have kept it together, kept the republic that was bequeathed to us by those so many now disdain. Until now.
A Monument to No One. A Monument to Nothing.
How fitting. How apropos of the times.
And how terribly sad.