“Reimagining New York City’s Monuments”
Darren Walker, President, The Ford Foundation
On Friday, June 8, the Frick presented a conversation both critical and timely, following months of national dialogue surrounding the removal and recontextualization of Confederate monuments across the country.
Darren Walker, The Ford Foundation, in conversation with Rachel Himes, The Frick Collection, considered the power of monuments as reflections of our historic past and as markers of who we aspire to become. Walker discussed his recent role as co-chair of New York City’s Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, recalling the many challenges he and his fellow commissioners faced. His commitment, he said, is defined by an insistence upon reducing inequality in the world.
Walker and Himes examined their own identities as African-Americans who grew up in the South, where public monuments largely reflected a culture not their own. Walker implored educators to engage critically with history and the arts. He proposed that practices of commemoration could evolve in the future to reflect the full diversity of New York City today and “ensure that the people, all of us, feel validated, uplifted, and valorized in our public spaces.”