Statue of Theodore Roosevelt Museum of Natural History
Several years ago a friend and I visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Before entering we took time to admire the equestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt. What made the greatest impression on Steven and I was the size of the stallion’s testicles. They were as large as Teddy Roosevelt’s head. The sculpture was great art to be sure, but it was also borderline obscene. The message was Teddy had no use for geldings or for eunuchs. He was all man.
Are there other ideas put forth in this work? Some people believe so. When viewed head on we see the classic hierarchy social relationship. Quite literally the white man is on top flanked by a seminude Native American and an unnamed African. They are physically powerful, proud and unafraid. Perhaps they are even heroic. But the fact remains that they occupy a lower level.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says that the monument needs to be removed and I agree. But removed to where? To send it to the smelter would be an act of vandalism. It would be state sanctioned vandalism, but vandalism none the less. Regardless of whether you find this work inspirational or disturbing it is undeniably art and it shouldn’t be destroyed. I hope that this statue finds its way to some idyllic but less prominent location. Perhaps a seldom traveled corner of a national park or a lonely cemetery. But please don’t melt it down. That would be wrong.