The controversial outdoor sculpture “Scaffold” will start being disassembled on Friday, according to a joint statement by Dakota elders, representatives of the Walker Art Center and the artist who created the work. It was part of a mediation agreement, announced today.
The sculpture was to be part of the upcoming Grand Reopening of the Sculpture Garden, but it was quickly engulfed in controversy. The artwork depicts several historic gallows, most prominently the gallows used to hang 38 Dakota men in Mankato in 1862. Neither the artist nor the Walker thought to ask Dakota people for their reaction. When the sculpture started going up, that reaction came fast and strong.
Please join the ceremonial start of the deconstruction, Friday at 2 p.m. at the Sculpture Garden. It is a large sculpture and it will take four days to remove it completely. The wood will be taken to the Fort Snelling area where there will be a ceremonial burning. That date is yet to be announced.
The Fort Snelling area has great significance to the Dakota people, with both positive and negative reasons. Fort Snelling sits at Bdote, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, the area central to the Dakota origin story. It also is the site where Dakota women, children and elders were held during the winter of 1862-63 following the Dakota-U.S. War. Hundreds died there.
The artist, Sam Durant, has turned over all intellectual property rights to the sculpture to the Dakota people, and promised never to replicate it.
This is a first in a series of blogs on today’s news conference. For the full statement that came out of mediation, keep reading. Continue reading