Monument, Myth and Meaning

Monday, October 23, 2017, 6:30 - 8pm

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AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld

AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld

In light of recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia and other cities across the nation, a panel discussion on Civil War Monuments has been planned in Cooper Union’s renowned Great Hall, on the subject of their meaning, the complex histories that surround their realization, and the current socio-political conditions that are causing their very existence to be reconsidered. Should these monuments be saved? Should they be torn down? Is it possible—or even appropriate—to make thoughtful, informed interventions into these works of public art that can preserve their history, diffuse the myth and polarization that surround them and serve as teaching moments for future generations? These and other questions will be posed during the program.

Panelists include:

Stony Brook University Professor Michele H. Bogart, whose teaching areas include the social history of public art and urban design and commercial culture in the United States;

Executive Director of the American Historical Association James Grossman whose work has focused on various aspects of American urban history, African American history, the place of history in public culture, and more;

Julian LaVerdiere, a 1993 graduate of The Cooper Union School of Art and co-creator of the Tribute in Light Memorial;

Visual journalist and former CNN correspondent Brian Palmer, who has photographed Virginia's neglected African American cemeteries and more;

Columbia University Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Mabel O. Wilson, whose design and scholarly research investigates space, politics and cultural memory in black America and race and modern architecture;

Mya Dosch, faculty member of The Cooper Union’s Humanities and Social Sciences who is teaching the fall 2017 course “Take ‘em down: Monuments, Artist Interventions, and the Struggle for Memory in the Americas,” will moderate.

The event is free and open to the public.  General public should reserve a space here. Please note first come, first seated; an RSVP does not guarantee admission as we generally overbook to ensure a full house. All registered seats are released 15 to 30 minutes before start time, so we recommend that you arrive early.

Located in The Great Hall, in the Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.