Monday, September 16, 2013

Hirschhorn's Summer Stay in The Bronx

Thomas Hirschhorn at his monument to Antonio Gramsci in the Bronx, NY.
Thomas Hirschhorn, the famous Swiss artist, has installed his version of a monument to Marxist thinker Antonio Gramaci located in the Forest Houses housing project of the South Bronx in New York City.

What is Hirschhorn asking with the erection of this contemporary temporary monument? Well, he chose this site due to the inhabitants low incomes, and filled this site with Gramsci-approved literature, thereby sewing the revolutionary seeds needed for the proletariat to overthrow the bourgeois. Ken Johnson gives a clearer account of Hirschhorn's intentions in The New York Times, "Gramsci thought that the overthrow of capitalist hegemony should come not by violent revolution but through the rise of “counter-hegemonies” — alternative cultures developed by disenfranchised groups. Through self-education, self-organization and the creation of its own institutions, a proletarian culture might someday become powerful enough to displace the bourgeois culture of modern, industrial society." Those that say real change is not possible and this just a big ego stroke are seeing the glass half empty. Regardless of my political philosophies, I can appreciate Hischhorn's goal in making meaningful discussion, self-education and exposure tenets of this monument.

What I can appropriate from this piece is what the person takes away with them, forever. Hirschhorn's Gramsci Monument is temporary, but the ideas passed on will last a lifetime. My pull-up bar sculpture is going to be permanent, not temporary, but the skills learned will hopefully stay with someone a lifetime.

My sculpture will be in a place where you may not expect to find a pull-up bar. Stressing the notion that movement is possible anywhere, just like how you wouldn't expect to find a Marxist cultural center in a South Bronx housing project courtyard. Stressing the notion that serious discourse should and can happen anywhere.

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