New York City Erects Demonic-Looking Statue In Honor Of Late SCOTUS Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Commitment To Abortion
How would the late RBG feel about being the inspiration for a horned and tentacled gold statue that looks like a sad, modern interpretation of an ancient demonic idol?
An 8-foot tall modern gold monstrosity now sits atop the state courthouse in New York alongside the traditional stone statues of lawmakers like Moses, Confucious, and Zoroaster.
Perched on one of the ten plinths on the courthouse roof, the new statue looks out of place — and it’s not because it’s a woman. It’s because it’s a (mostly) unclothed, gold demon-woman with tentacle limbs and braids fashioned into horns emerging out of an open pink lotus flower.
The artist, Shahzia Sikander, a 53-year-old Pakistani-American, says that the gold demon-woman represents “the indefatigable spirit of the women, who have been collectively fighting for their right to their own bodies over generations” while referencing the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade and the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September 2020.
“The luminous figure is also a nod to RBG — as seen in the detail adorning her collar. With Ginsburg’s death and the reversal of Roe, there was a setback to women’s constitutional progress,” she adds in her artist’s statement.
It’s rather spot-on for a monument to abortion. If Sikander was going for a feminized version of the love-child of Baphoment and Cthulu with a nod to the ancient practice of child sacrifice — it looks like she nailed it.
Andrew Beck is a consultant whose company works with organizations to positively influence the culture.
My firm @beckandstone works with institutions to help them understand and positively influence culture—without being consumed by it. Our newsletter, CREATED, is a collection of letters and thoughts on life and culture from our team and friends. Do read! https://t.co/kffXHD1lg1
— Andrew Beck (@AndrewBeckUSA) January 25, 2023
He posted images of the statue on Twitter on Wednesday and the images soon went viral.
The statue, named "NOW", is a female figure emerging from a pink lotus. It has braids shaped as horns with a judicial lace apron. It is meant to pay homage to Ruth Bader Ginsberg and her fight for abortion.
— Andrew Beck (@AndrewBeckUSA) January 25, 2023
(I should mention for the benefit of the few of you under the wrong impression that I made or placed this statue: I may have brought it to your attention, but I did not make it or place it.)
— Andrew Beck (@AndrewBeckUSA) January 26, 2023
Beck is right about the “glowing” review in the New York Times.
The piece had nothing but good things to say about the bizarre monstrosity that is in stark contrast to the other statues that sit on top of the state courthouse.
Here are the opening paragraphs:
Frenzied commuters in New York’s Flatiron district have been stopped in their tracks in recent days by an unlikely apparition near Moses, Confucius and Zoroaster. Standing atop the grandiose state courthouse is a shimmering, golden eight-foot female sculpture, emerging from a pink lotus flower and wearing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s signature lace collar.
Staring regally ahead with hair braided like spiraling horns, the sculpture, installed as part of an exhibition that opened last week, is the first female to adorn one of the courthouse’s 10 plinths, dominated for more than a century by now weathered statues representing great lawgivers throughout the ages — all of them men.
Shahzia Sikander, 53, the paradigm-busting Pakistani American artist behind the work, said the sculpture was part of an urgent and necessary cultural reckoning underway as New York, along with cities across the world, reconsiders traditional representations of power in public spaces and recasts civic structures to better reflect 21st-century social mores.
Source: New York Times
“She is a fierce woman and a form of resistance in a space that has historically been dominated by patriarchal representation,” the article quotes Sikander as saying.
The interesting thing about this is that they’re celebrating it as a “first” even though the concept of “justice” has been personified as a blind woman since ancient times. “Lady Justice” originates with the Roman goddess Justitia, who was introduced by empower Augustus, but depictions of justice balancing scales go back to the ancient Egyptian goddesses Isis and Maat.
Iconographer Jonathan Pageau makes a similar point:
It is probably much older than that, if we consider Athena as the mythological origin of the Athenian court system.
— Jonathan Pageau (@PageauJonathan) January 27, 2023
The “NOW” piece is almost identical to another statue by Sikander called “Witness” that sits in Madison Square Park. That one is 18 feet tall and the only difference appears to be that instead of rising out of a lotus, “Witness” hovers above the ground held aloft by a hoop skirt was inspired by the stained glass dome of the courthouse. Sikander says that the demon-woman in the hoop skirt symbolized “the need to ‘break the legal glass ceiling.’”
Sikander writes about both statues in her Artist’s Statement:
NOW, an 8-foot sculpture on the roof of the courthouse, uses the same feminine form as in Witness, but instead of the skirt raising the body, the body emerges out of the seat of a lotus.The lotus, with its plethora of meanings and abstract ideas, is symbolic of a deeper truth beyond its form, alluding to perception as illusion. Popular in images in many cultures, it also expresses intangible ideas of humility, awakening, and clarity. The invisible roots of the lotus that lie below the depth of the water are echoed in the roots of the feminine figure. Its form, a circular bloom, with its petals within petals formation, refers to the microcosm and macrocosm in its arabesque, iconographical value. The female body has a face with its hair braided into spiraling horns.’ The horns mimic the movement of the arms and are there as a symbol of the figure’s sovereignty, and its autonomy. Women in my work are always complex, proactive, confident, intelligent and in their playful stances connected to the past in imaginative ways without being tied to a heteronormative lineage or conventional representations of diaspora and nation.
Femininity to me is the tension between women and power. How society perceives such a dynamic and how erasure is enacted by the social forces that shape women’s lives. Throughout literature, the notion of the female has been in conversation with the visible /invisible divide, the feminine as the monstrous, the abject, the fecund, the immense, and the vulnerable. Intimacy, selfhood, valor, resistance, and femininity’s intersections with race and war are markers of the fear that lurks when boundaries melt.
To the current cultural “elites”, sculptures filled with symbolism that are more interpretive and lacking definitive representations of individuals as well as the general ugliness of the art are all features, not bugs. They proudly erect these monstrosities everywhere… and call us “unenlightened” if we don’t like them.
Coretta Scott King’s Cousin Blasts $10M Statue In Boston Common As ‘Masturbatory Homage’
Former senior policy advisor and director of speechwriting for President Trump weighed in on Beck’s thread about the “NOW” statue:
The progressive left is very keen to tear down statues that are representative, but what they put up in place of them are allusions to ethereal ideas and values. They also — quite often, anyway — happen to be hideous.
They call these sculptures acts of “resistance”… maybe it’s time for conservatives to resist right back.
Reject modernity — embrace tradition.
Cross-posted with Clash Daily
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