Next weekend the VMFA will “repurpose” the War Memorial Chapel. Two artists, John Dombroski and Ander Mikalson, are “planning to turn the memorial into a trippy funhouse full of disorienting light, sound and shadow.” According to Dombroski, “By illuminating and amplifying the building and visitors’ presence within it, we will create a heightened sensory experience that invites investigation and introspection.” The result, according to one report, will “probe the chapel’s socio-political significance.”
If ever there was a project designed to justify the outrage of the Virginia Flaggers and other Confederate heritage organizations that the purpose of the VMFA was to denigrate and disregard Confederate heritage, this might just be it. I find the idea ridiculous. That some of you may disagree is fine. Art is in the eye of the beholder. I just think this idea is wrong and disrespectful.
As you might well expect, the Virginia Flaggers are up in arms about this idea. Grayson Jennings, who has been silent about the appearance of his name on a certain list, offers this response on the Virginia Flaggers’ blog:
In response, the Flaggers will protest the event.
One day after Jennings posted the Flaggers’ response, Susan Frise Hathaway decided to tell everyone that she had taken enough. In a post entitled, “Our Time is Now,” she declared:
We agree that if Hathaway’s this angry, it’s time for her to stand up and be counted … and be present at the VMFA when the Virginia Flaggers protest the exhibit on November 13 and 14. For her to call others to action without showing up herself would lead one to conclude that she is indeed a doormat, someone so skeered that her “spirit of timidity” still filled her soul, and that her courage was wavering indeed.
Will Susan Frise Hathaway take her own advice? Will she stand up for Confederate heritage and appear at the VMFA to protest this outrage? Or will she be a coward?
We’ll know very soon.