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Folding Monument (Christopher Columbus Statue, Columbus Triangle, Queens, New York), 2022. Upcycled cotton canvas, thread, cotton webbing, photograph, shelf.

Installation views, In Practice: Literally means collapse, group exibition, SculptureCenter, New York, 2022. Photo: Charles Benton

This Folding Monument is the only U.S.-based monument in the exhibition, and it is a scale replica of the monument for Christopher Columbus, located in Queens, NY, near where the artist lives. The statue was originally funded by the Works Progress Administration and community fundraising, and it was designed by Italian-American artist Angelo Racioppi. The 7.5 foot sculpture depicts a young and heroic Christopher Columbus, at the helm of a ship. Dedicated in 1941, it was then hidden during World War II, so that it wouldn’t be used for scrap metal during the war effort. It was reinstalled in 1945 and remains a meeting site for local Italian American community members. The monument has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, as critics connect Columbus to the genocide and dispossession of Native Americans. In 2017, protestors tagged it with the words “Don’t Honor Genocide.” In the summer of 2020, hundreds of protestors demanded its removal; an online petition to remove it has collected more than 15,000 signatures.

Text written in collaboration with Laura August

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