Sam Durant: Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monument Transpositions, Washington, D.C.
Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monument Transpositions, Washington, D.C. (2005), a large-scale installation by Los Angeles artist Sam Durant, is presented at LACMA for the first time since entering the museum’s collection in 2013. The work takes as its starting point monuments found throughout the United States commemorating those killed during the “Indian wars” between Native Americans and white settlers. These conflicts occurred intermittently for more than 200 years, from the first colonial settlements in the 1600s through the closing of the western frontier in 1890. Featuring scaled-down replicas of actual massacre memorials, Durant’s installation is based on his proposal that 30 monuments be relocated from their current sites to a stretch of the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Imposing in its physical presence, the work questions historical attitudes toward Native Americans, while also confronting larger issues of American history and the role of public monuments in shaping our conceptions of the past.
Image: Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monument Transpositions, Washington, D.C., 2005. Medium density fiberboard, fiberglass, foam, enamel, acrylic, basswood, balsa wood, birch veneer, copper. Purchased with funds provided by Allison and Larry Berg, Holly and Albert Baril, Viveca Paulin-Ferrell and Will Ferrell, Linda and Jerry Janger, and H. Tony and Marti Oppenheimer through the 2013 Collectors Committee. M.2013.123.1-31. © Sam Durant