Professor Erin Thompson discusses her book, “Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America’s Public Monuments.” Prof. Thompson explains the role of Confederate monuments, what they symbolize, and to whom their message is aimed. The design of the “parade stance” figure’s rise to monument dominance provides insight into the submissive posture of white defender was intentional. Thompson tells the twisted story of the Klu Klux Klan’s Stone Mountain monument’s pyramid scheme that resulted in a shrimp poop covered carving to failure. How America deals with the past and looks to the future of these monuments is steeped in a long history of symbolic messaging of a dominant social and racial order that cannot be ignored.
Erin L. Thompson is a professor of art crime at the City University of New York.