MOCA to Show "Most Racist Statue in America"
|Giuseppe Moretti, Stephen Collins Foster, 1900, as previously installed in Pittsburgh|
The LAXART/MOCA "MONUMENTS" exhibition has secured another loan, that of Guiseppe Moretti's Stephen Foster from Pittsburgh. It shows the composer of "My Old Kentucky Home" with a barefoot, banjo-playing Black man at his feet. The banjo player represents "Old Uncle Ned," the "happy slave" of a minstrel show song by Foster. The Root writer Damon Young judged the bronze sculpture "the most racist statue in America" and "the most ridiculous magical Negro you'll ever see."
The subject was dictated by a committee of civic leaders that included banker, art collector, and National Gallery of Art founder Andrew W. Mellon. The statue is said to have been paid for with pennies donated by schoolchildren visiting the park. Pittsburgh took down the statue in 2018.
"MONUMENTS" is expected to open at MOCA Geffen in fall 2023.
Yes, these works are vitally important as artifacts from the long Jim Crow century in the US.
The ideal venue would be a permanent one, a representative example being the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, for contextualizing the Nazi era.