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.
• 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.