As of December 15th 2012, the Triumph of Civic Virtue has been sitting in private property on Brooklyn’s Green-Wood cemetery on “long-term loan.”
Its removal was most publicly pushed along by efforts from former U.S. representative Anthony Weiner, and NYC councilwoman Julissa Ferreras. In a February 2011 press conference, Weiner, with Ferreras at his side, made a public show of his disdain:
Before all else, it should be recalled that these seeds of this hubris bore their bitter fruit about 4 months later: Anthony Weiner resigned from office after being caught shame-faced in a sexting scandal.
Despite their general responsibility to oversee and maintain public property in Queens, borough president Helen Marshall and past borough president Claire Schulman did not hide their disdain of Civic Virtue, and fancied their uninformed art criticism more important than carrying out their public duty to look after one of Queens’ most valuable public works. Current borough president Melinda Katz has not yet formally weighed in on the matter.
We, the statue’s advocates, oppose the banishment of a public work of art to a private cemetery, especially when it contains positive allegory about good government, placed in such a timely location. The statue once stood mere yards away from the halls where the corrupt Donald Manes not too long ago fell into scandal.
The statue has been conserved, but its fountain is no longer operational and the base badly cracked. Funds from DCAS are needed for restoration, but only money for conservation has been allotted. About 27% of New York City’s residents, many of whom pay taxes to support the restoration of art elsewhere in the city, live in Queens. To lock this treasure away on private property in Green-Wood cemetery for their profit is an affront to our public works and the city’s art.
In addition, Green-Wood cemetery has been promulgating false information
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For more information about the statue’s history, click here.
triumphofcivicvirtue.org gives a nod of approval to efforts on and offline which recognize public art in Queens, and the borough’s unique attractions in general.