Art in Tribeca: Medusa gets her man

An extreme version of victim-shaming perpetuated in classical mythology has been reinterpreted by an Argentine-Italian sculptor and adopted by the #MeToo movement in a statue on view at Collect Pond Park. “Medusa With the Head of Perseus” by Luciano Garbati is so frank I found it startling. And for a minute I didn’t even recognize the snakes — I just thought it was a woman who had cut off a man’s head. And that is clearly the point. (Thanks to J. for the heads up. Get it?)

Of course just the title alone tells you that the sculptor has turned the myth on its head too: the way the Greeks wrote it, Perseus decapitates Medusa therefore ending her reign of terror, where she turned all caught in her gaze to stone. But Medusa wasn’t always a monster. She gained those powers, and the snakes for hair, after being cursed by Athena: the goddess was angry that Poseidon had raped the mortal Medusa in Athena’s temple, and took it out on the maiden.

Garbati first created the sculpture in 2008 in resin. In 2018, he uploaded an image of it to Facebook where it became a meme in support of #metoo. New York artist Bek Andersen encountered it there, tracked down Garbati and the two plotted to bring the work to NYC. The piece now stands 7 feet tall and was cast in bronze Carbon Sculpt Studios in Red Hook.

To promote the work, Andersen founded the MWTH Project — a riff on myth — and showed the sculpture along with several other pieces challenging classical themes last year in Soho. It’s displayed now as part of the Parks Department’s Art in the Parks program, on view until April 2021. (Smaller models of the sculpture in resin are already sold out.)

The two artists wanted the sculpture to be in a public space, and in working with the Parks Department, liked the connection to the courthouses when considering the theme of justice. The the Weinstein trial was not planned, but a major bonus.

 

4 Comments

  1. When I first saw this, I loved the stairs of the random passer byes and now what I’ve also noticed is the candles placed at her feet to honor the killing.

    I love New York.

  2. She is HOT.

    I want my next girlfriend to wear a Medusa wig ; )

  3. Wow. I have to go see her. Gorgeous powerful sculpture.

  4. I, like many, understand the symbolic gesture this statue represents. You can try and rationalize all day that it is only a historical mythological reference, but we ALL know it is much more than that, but keeping with the mythological storyline, Athena’s jealousy and bitterness cursed Medusa for what Poseidon did. Yet, this statue is only depicts vengeance upon the Man and ignores Athena’s transgression. Why isn’t Medusa also holding the head of Athena? Is the representation to suggest only Men will receive this perverted sense of justice? Why not just replace lady justice with this statue now. This would depict a perfect example of “Toxic Feminism”. Where’s the #NOH8 campaign on that, or does such a campaign only side with the transgressions of LGBTQ and Women? While this statue represents the anger and torment of a women having been raped, it also depicts the toxic retribution of a society accepting of such vengeance. RAPE DOES NOT JUSTIFY POST MEDITATED MURDER. With centuries of racial acts against people of color; from slavery, acts of discrimination, and racial targeting by authorities and the courts….. should there be a statue next to this of a mythological or superhuman colored individual lynching figures representing white male & female Judges, police officers, ect? Of course not, hate begets hate, violence begets violence. So why is this statue celebrated so much? Should there be a statue of a Father showing his children torn away from him by the court system and him holding a saber with Lady Justice’s head in his other hand? Should there be a statue of LGBTQs depicting violent and discriminatory acts against those who have oppressed them? The only thing such representations of hate, anger, and vengeance do is incite the same in others.
    I won’t argue, it is a wonderful and very powerful piece of art. Dare I say, comparable to art created during the renaissance. However, there’s a very different narrative and feeling this piece invokes that the prior did not and that message isn’t one our society should feel comfortable entertaining.
    Other than the inappropriate message this invokes, it doesn’t belong on public streets. Have we come so far as a society that we think it’s ok and rationalize placing naked figures on street corners? I see no difference between this and pornography. Can you imagine walking past this with your young children and having to explain why their is a naked statue of a women holding a severed head of a man on the street corner? The possible fears running through the mind of a little girl attempting to understand and imagining what is being explained to her. The possible hatred such young girls might form towards men in the future imagining such violations against her friends, Mother, or herself. You wonder why many children of color are afraid of police….. it’s no different. We need to flip the script and change the narrative. In the same way many good police officers go out of their way to help out or become familiar within primarily colored neighborhoods. In the same way, we need to change the view we are depicting of men. Just look at the previous comments….from acceptance and approval of an act of murder to lust. Many don’t even care the symbolic nature of this statue, it’s just like the Leg Lamp from Christmas Story……from “glowing sex” to cast in bronze. Does the fact that she took justice into her own hands and murdered someone make it ok? If that’s the case, with the debated elections, corruption of congressional officials, gender discriminating court justices, racist cops …… I dare say Biden was absolutely right, the Worst is definitely yet to come.

Comment: