Art At Noon

Reframing the Legacy of the Capitol

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General Public
Abby King
Members of the National Guard take a rest in the Rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 13, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP )

Following the attacks on the US Capitol Building, the New York Times reported that a group of art conservators  looked at the impact on the building, “including the question of whether some of it should be left as a historical marker of the day.” 

While the nation takes time to process the events of January 6, this is also a moment to unpack the complicated legacy of the art of the Capitol, its past and present. How does the art and architecture of the Capitol reflect who we are as a nation—our best ideals and our darkest legacies? What damages were already present in this "temple to democracy" before the storming of the 117th United States Congress? What can historians of the material and visual culture of the United States offer in terms of interpretation of the traumatic images that flooded media all over the world in the aftermath of the attack?

For this timely Art at Noon, Dr. Anna O. Marley, Kenneth R. Woodcock Curator of Historical American Art at PAFA, will be joined by esteemed colleagues to provide context and a reframing of the Capitol’s collection in our current political and cultural moment. 

Dr. Marley will be joined by Dr. Christian Ayne Crouch, incoming Dean of Graduate Studies, Associate Professor of History and Director of American Studies at Bard College, Dr. Jacqueline Francis, Chair, Graduate Visual and Critical Studies Program at California College of Arts, Dr. Vivien Green Fryd, Professor Emerita in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, Vanderbilt University, and Dr. Amy Werbel, Professor of the History of Art at State University of New York, for a conversation that addresses the histories and legacies embodied in the Capitol.

Image: Nicholas Kamm/Agence France-Presse (Getty Images)