I roll a Whole Foods cart jammed with art supplies, a folding chair and a Bristol pad throughout NYC to document in plein air drawings (and more recently paintings on canvases and linen panels strung with bungee cords onto a hand cart) extant public figurative statuary for my art series, the Anna Pierrepont Series.
I then combine the images with words that explore the traumatic and often violent erasure of collective and personal memories that arise in both the installation and removals of public statues. Unsurprisingly, the Anna Pierrepont Series is being caught up in the rising tide of iconoclastic attacks and their backlash is this deeply unsettled era, most infamously in Charlottesville Virginia during the summer of 2017.
The pictorial essays are being published worldwide in popular, literary and academic publications, in addition to being exhibited in galleries and open studios in NYC and elsewhere.
The series’ central purpose is to interrogate how groups come to ‘speak through the city’ by additions of artworks to public places and how the capacity to speak through the city can shift between groups thus marooning the objects that speak for the past in the present with often unhappy consequences.
I encourage viewers to recognize the dissonance between statements of identity earlier epochs interject permanently into the present in marble and bronze shaped with artists’ hands and the present’s collective perceptions. The present often views these artifacts as not representative of the past’s ideals but rather its biases that have saddled the present with persistent injustice.
The images are plein air appropriation, coming into being through visual encounters with the constant changes of light and color in things ideally encountered out of door and having originally been created by other artists.
I have named the entire project after Anna Marie Pierrepont, a grand dame of 19th century Brooklyn interred in one of the most magnificent tombs in Greenwood Cemetery in walking distance from my home in Brooklyn, New York.
I named the series after Anna, because I recognized in her strident efforts to maintain her memory and the ultimate failure of that effort, something of the hapless Ozymandias and his trunkless legs of stone in the vast desert of Shelley’s poem.