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CURRENT ISSUE - March 2014
This special issue features articles reflecting on the artwork that prompted IUPUI's recent symposium, "Art, Race, and Space": artist Fred Wilson's proposed E Pluribus Unum sculpture, which re-imagined a new identity for the freed slave portrayed on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis. Wilson's work, commissioned for the city's Cultural Trail, was ultimately cancelled after long and intense public controversy.
Modupe Labode, who helped to organize the original symposium, revisits the contentious history of Wilson's proposal, and the public struggles over the freedman image and its placement in the city center. Wilson himself follows with a discussion of monuments and memorials that have inspired his work and comments on some of his museum installations.
Art historian Bridget Cooks looks at Wilson's work in light of the conflicting ideals of preservation and activism. Geographers Owen Dwyer and Matthew McCourt examine the history of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail and consider the relationship of the public spaces and public art along its eight miles.
Art historian Renée Ater studies the public outcry that followed Rocky Mount, North Carolina's commissioned statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Historian Erika Doss discusses Duluth, Minnesota's public memorial to three young black men who were lynched in that city in 1920, arguing that such public art can "generate profound responses of renewal and reconciliation."
Sculpture copyright, James Mastin 2009; Photo Courtesty, James Mastin