|WTVR-TV in Richmond has all the details|
and more photos of the "vandalism"
Levin characterizes the signs as "vandalism," while the local CBS affiliate WTVR calls the signs, "street art." So which are they?
The incident reminded me of a clear-cut instance of vandalism which happened back in April on the same street in the same city. On the night of April 6th, someone spray-painted "NO HERO" across the bases of both the Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis monuments. This was a destructive act at its core, attempting to permanently change the landscape.
|rvanews had excellent coverage of the |
vandalism in April.
They were engaging with the meaning of the place. The medium they chose was destructive and illegal, but the engagement with the place and the thoughts behind the act were deep.
Fast-forward to this week. Another voice entered the dialogue. The same deep thought took place, the same pure sentiment was expressed. This new artist chose a different mode of expression, that of wood, cheap hardware and mixed-medium. The installations were bolted to the fences surrounding the monuments, not leaving a mark on the outdated marble and bronze. They serve as stark counterpoint to the Confederate narrative. They plaques speak to Davis, Jackson and Stuart. They hold a dialogue with the historical landscape. And, most importantly, they do so without destruction of the landscape.
Are the plaques vandalism? No. They could be best classed, if called a crime at all, as littering.
The newest actions are truly civic engagement through constructive artistic expression. They begin a discussion on the landscape, shift its meanings and help the citizens of Richmond see multiple perspectives in sharp, geographic contrast.
|Poll results on wtvr.com as of 12:01am seem to show the community at |
large sees the tablets as harmless expression, not vandalism.