By Dan Goodman
In January 2020, I built a giant moon for a wedding.
After the ceremony, the events company told me they needed it to be picked up. I was now faced with the dilemma of what to do with an 8 ft tall moon bench. I wasn’t motivated by the idea of trying to re-sell such a niche product, so naturally I dropped it off on the empty pedestal that previously held the Jefferson Davis monument. I thought my intention would be obvious, adding something to an empty pedestal. I even added a face I had sculpted while experimenting with clay to add to the absurdity of it. The moon was made of plywood after all, it could never be anything other than a placeholder.
The first reaction I got was from a facebook neighborhood group in Mid City, who seemed to embrace it for what it was. A local artist, @samskrimpz even offered to paint one side, which added an extra level of depth to it.
Then the tides turned when WWLTV posted a photo to their facebook page.
The post was shared to confederate statue preservation groups throughout the country. The frustrating part was people’s assumption that the city had paid for the statue, other than that the theories were pretty funny. One guy threatened to audit my business when I commented my explanation of how the moon got there. He even posted my address, so I deleted the comment. A day later a woman knocked it over, twice. A mid city resident detailed the events.
My entirely apolitical piece of plywood had become the subject of a debate over confederate statues. It lasted a while but eventually disappeared. I didn’t even think the original monuments should have been torn down. A plaque could have been added to add historical context or the statues could be modified to represent someone else, but tearing down art has always been sacrilegious to me.
I’ve since found a new location to use for public art which I’ll write about in a future post. Stay tuned.