Monuments to Fallen Monuments reconsiders the controversial Castleman sculpture in Louisville, Kentucky and examines relationships between public space and the memories behind historical monuments. Monuments to Fallen Monuments is from a series that creates dialogues about what we choose to memorialize and why. The Castleman Sculpture portrays a former Confederate officer, John B. Castleman on his favorite mare, Carolina. He founded the American Saddlebred Horse Association (the oldest horse breed registry in the US) and is known as “the father of the Louisville Park System.” Castleman contributed to multiple regional parks-- including donating land for the Olmsted-designed Cherokee Park. However, Castleman was vocal about and in favor of segregation of the parks he helped create.
The horse component of the Castleman sculpture is exquisitely rendered by artist Roland Perry and has been studied by numerous sculptors since its unveiling in 1913. As an established totem for the city of Louisville and the decadence of horse racing, horses have long symbolized freedom and resilience for other cultures. The proposed new version represented within Monuments to Fallen Monuments reclaims the horse as a way to foster a new conversation around the role of public art preservation and reinterpretation of art objects within a 21st-century narrative.
This piece was removed by Louisville Metro Government and Louisville Visual Art as a part of the Imagined Monuments Exhibition in Metro Hall in January 2019. I requested that my other works in the exhibition be removed and refused payment. On May 9th, 2019, the Metro Louisville Landmark Commission ruled that the monument may be removed.