Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Political Art Month Scavenger Hunt: A Survey of the Obvious, Forgotten and Controversial

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 6:30 AM

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Veterans Memorial Plaza
1oo Auditorium Circle

This plaza houses not one, but two bronze soldier groupings, one memorializing Vietnam, the other Korea, but in aggregate meant to honor all our fallen, anywhere. The figures are tensed, ready for battle, tough, memorialized. Oddly, they from some angles appear to be at war with each other. One cannot find issue with its mission, in this most military of American cities. Often, visitors to the site leave remembrances — cards, flowers, a patriotic ribbon tied around one of the guns’ barrels.

The plaza itself, however, seems both over- and under-designed, a series of separate gestures — the islands of men huddled together, one in an improvised-seeming pile of concrete. The figure rendering, while competent, is a little sketchy. They are like claymation in bronze.

Elder is not a fan, and points out that it was a railroaded, occult sort of project that covered up a perfectly good WWI memorial.


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Confederate Civil War Monument 
301 E. Travis St.

I opine that this outsized obelisk marks San Antonio as part of a larger, if distant South. Elder is skeptical. But we were officially segregated, I protest. The Robert E. Lee Hotel is visible from here. There’s a high school named after him. Think of the accent, the biscuits, the risible and continuing issues of social justice. Whatever else San Antonio is, it’s Southern.
The legend on the obelisk reads, “Lest we forget our Confederate dead.”
Elder sniffs. “There can’t have been that many.”

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An Unsung Hero of the Alamo
Directly across from 123 Losoya St.

You know what? I always thought this statue was of Juan Seguin. Elder is appalled at this. “It’s on Losoya Street!”

The image of it that springs to mind is of tourists standing with their heads next to the gun, eerily recalling Eddie Adams’ famous photograph General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon. And it’s a good thing Mr. Losoya is standing on something: he’s tiny. Smaller than human-scale. A bronze elf. Why so small? It seems significant. He’s acknowledged by the plaque as unheralded, un-thanked. It was a gift from Coors. What did they mean by it, we wonder?

“Here, take this lilliputian Alamo Defender. The Mexican one. He’s little, but he’s armed.”

He sports a Rambo-style headband and a look of defiance. He is, by far, the handsomest of the bronze heroes.

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