Graphic sculpture was entirely inappropriate

Friday, September 27, 2002

Two weeks ago, a sculpture called "Tumbling Woman" went on display at Rockefeller Center in New York. The sculpture depicted a naked woman with arms and legs flailing whose head is about to smash into the sidewalk. It was designed as a memorial to those who jumped or fell to their death at the World Trade Center following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

How any artist could imagine that such a graphic image would be fit for public display is difficult to imagine. Moreover, the management of Rockefeller Center must take much of the blame for the complaints that ultimately prompted the removal of the sculpture from public view.

In times of tragedy, attempts to soothe the pain and scars often ignore the reality of what has happened. But such a graphic depiction of a horrible death is hardly appropriate. It is the lives of those who died that we want to remember, even though we will never forget how they were killed.

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