After Dismantling a Sculpture in Wake of Protests, Walker Must Lead Effort to Dismantle Inequity

The Star Tribune just published a piece written by my friend David Cournoyer and I about the Walker Art Center’s controversial “Scaffold” sculpture and its decision to remove it. The article is headlined: After dismantling a sculpture in wake of protests, Walker must lead effort to dismantle inequity.

The piece looks beyond the specifics of the art and raises broader issues of equity that do figure in this debacle. Thank you for reading this and sharing and joining in what will be a long-term journey.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

It seems Walker Art Center did the right thing in deciding to dismantle an artistic composite of the gallows used to hang 38 Dakota men in Mankato in 1862. But it was a no-brainer. Protests are bad for business, and they were sure to swell unpleasantly at the popular Sculpture Garden’s June reopening.

How so many observers grasped the stupidity of positioning “Scaffold” as a child’s jungle gym — while no one at Walker did — is just one question. Now we’ll see whether Walker is willing to step from behind the cloak of artistic freedom, and institutional inscrutability, to really make things right.

Dismantling the structure is easy, but this moment demands more. Walker needs to lead Minnesota in a bigger challenge to dismantle inequity. It is time.

Click here for the full Op/Ed.

One thought on “After Dismantling a Sculpture in Wake of Protests, Walker Must Lead Effort to Dismantle Inequity

  1. Thank you, David and Scott, for your commentary in this morning’s Star Tribune. It’s good to learn that the scaffold is being dismantled, but, as you rightly point out, there is much more work that needs to be done to overcome the insensitivity of institutions, such as the Walker, to the concerns of and the contributions that can be made by Minnesota’s American Indian communities. A good start to overcoming this insensitivity would be to have all high school students in Minnesota, public, private, and parochial, due an intensive study of American Indian history, especially as it relates to Minnesota.


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