For over 2000 years, the Western World has used life-size bronze statues to honorific ends. From powerful gods and conquering generals to presidents and poets, having one’s likeness cast in bronze is an unmistakable message that your contributions should not and will not be forgotten. Instead they will live on, much like the statue itself, beyond your lifetime and the lives of your contemporaries.
At a time when so much attention is being paid to the monuments of America, and questions are being asked about why they are there and what they stand for, Gillie and Marc would like to pose these questions: What effect does it have on the young women of our world to so rarely see anyone who looks like them cast in bronze, standing tall, and unapologetically proud? What does it do to young men to not see women honored in this way? This isn’t about numbers for numbers’ sake. This is about the conscious and subconscious way our children form their ideas about themselves, their gender, and their world when they are taken to the park to play or to the Rockefeller Plaza to ice-skate in their vacations.
To be clear, we are not speaking of the symbolic figures of “truth”, “justice”, or “The American Way”, which often adorn fountains and facades and are almost exclusively women. These are not specific women who are being honored for specific contributions, but rather empty shells of the romanticized female form standing in for concepts and ideals.
With the installation of this project, Gillie and Marc will increase the number of representational statues of women in New York City by 200% but there is still so far to go. The artists call on everyone to help them institute change:
Artists – when you make a statue, make it a woman! Cities and commissioning bodies – when you ask for a statue, ask for it to be a woman! Galleries – ask yourselves, what are the bodies in your space? Are they anonymous female nudes or are they specific strong women? Citizens – reach out to your representatives and let them know that this matters