A New York City college professor has instructed protesters to use a chain instead of rope to topple statues “faster.”
Erin Thompson, an assistant professor of art crime at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, responded to the imminent destruction of a Christopher Columbus statue at the Minnesota State Capitol on June 10 with her own advice:
“I’m a professor who studies the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage and I just have to say… use chain instead of rope and it’ll go faster,” Thompson told her 12,500 Twitter followers.
In the same thread, Thompson linked to University of Alabama archaeologist Sarah Parcak for a detailed “breakdown of how to dismantle racist statues,” or as Parcak put it “remove an obelisk” that “might be masquerading as a racist monument.”
On June 14, Thompson gave an interview to a British TV talk show on the topic: “Why statues are targets in the global anti-racism movement. What does it mean to tear down a statue? And why do we put them up in the first place?”
In her bio on the John Jay website, Thompson says: “As America’s only full-time professor of art crime, I study the damage done to humanity’s shared heritage through looting, theft, and the deliberate destruction of art.”
It’s not Thompson’s first brush with controversy. In 2017, she helped curate a controversial exhibit and sale of artwork created by suspected al Qaeda terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.
A CUNY spokesman said he would look into the matter before commenting.
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