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Article on "The Castle is Burning" at Cornell

The Cornell Daily Sun just last week published an article about protests on campus, and the article included a section on the piece designed by Daniel Martinez that caused a furor on campus. Keep reading for the info on Martinez's piece...

From the Cornell Daily SUn:

The Art of Protest

In an effort to achieve a Latino Living Center and a Latino Studies program at Cornell, the Latino community of the early 1990s mobilized with a force nearly unparalleled in Cornell activist history.

Their 1993 protest, which led to a takeover of Day Hall, spurred from the defacement of “The Castle Is Burning,” a sculpture famously placed on the Arts Quad as part of the Johnson Museum’s “Revelations/Revelaciones” exhibit celebrating Hispanic Art. Sawyer and Eden describe the sculpture as an “undulating rectangle of ochre walls that stretched out across the Arts Quad.”

The Sun previously reported that Martinez’s inspiration for the sculpture was the social unrest of the 1968 Paris uprisings. It consisted of a series of black walls constructed around walkways on the Quad, the layout of barricades mimicked those used in Paris. They blocked sidewalks across campus, and thus compelled pedestrians to find alternate paths.

According to Sherina Giler ’10, treasurer of La Asociacion Latina, “when walking through the piece, you couldn’t see the person on the other side. It was as if you were in a bubble.” On the fourth night of its display, the sculpture was vandalized when students defaced it by writing, “Fuck you! This sucks asshole!”

“The defacing was a spark to the protest,” Giler said. “We wanted as equal an education as everyone else.”

After protesters barred the entrances to Day Hall and took over the third floor offices for a weekend, the administration and students negotiated and began the planning stages for a Latino Living Center.

“It’s hard to only view the takeover as a sign of success, because we shouldn’t have to protest for things that we should already have,” Eduardo Peñalver ’94 a key protest figure, previously told The Sun. “White students come here, identify with the school and love it. They have an uncomplicated educational experience ... this is what we should have.”

http://cornellsun.com/node/35559, accessed 2/28/09