Monuments are generally coded masculine and created by men. Yet, “The State,” “Victory,” and “Justice,” for instance, have often been visualized as a female body. In this class, we will examine the patronage, viewing practices, legacies and absences of monuments, memorials, and art to or by women in public spaces. Over the course of the semester, we will take a comparative approach, looking to examples from both the past and the present to interrogate the different ways in which these monuments engage gender’s relationship with power, as well as intersections with race, ethnicity, and status. Our case studies include the iconoclasm of monuments to or by ancient queens such as Cleopatra and Artemisia II; the presence of nude female bodies in public spaces; the absence of women in American political monuments; the (imperial) politics of monuments in East Asia as in the Monuments of Peace to so-called “comfort women”; and women as artists and patrons of public art, from the Roman empress Livia to the contemporary artist Sharon Hayes. We will make use of objects, museums, and monuments throughout New York City.
Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)