A suitably bizarre New York Times story, commemorating a bizarre new sculpture over a state courthouse building in New York City, appeared on the front of Saturday’s Arts section: “Move Over Moses and Zoroaster: Manhattan Has a New Female Lawgiver, by international correspondent Dan Bilefsky.
….Standing atop the grandiose state courthouse is a shimmering, golden eight-foot female sculpture, emerging from a pink lotus flower and wearing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s signature lace collar.
Staring regally ahead with hair braided like spiraling horns, the sculpture, installed as part of an exhibition that opened last week, is the first female to adorn one of the courthouse’s 10 plinths, dominated for more than a century by now weathered statues representing great lawgivers throughout the ages -- all of them men.
Shahzia Sikander, 53, the paradigm-busting Pakistani American artist behind the work, said the sculpture was part of an urgent and necessary cultural reckoning underway as New York, along with cities across the world, reconsiders traditional representations of power in public spaces and recasts civic structures to better reflect 21st-century social mores.
Bilefsky let Sikander be “fierce” in her pro-abortion statuary activism.
“She is a fierce woman and a form of resistance in a space that has historically been dominated by patriarchal representation,” said Sikander, who previously served on the New York Mayoral Advisory Commission of City Art, Monuments and Markers. She said the work was called “NOW” because it was needed “now,” at a time when women’s reproductive rights were under siege after the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned the constitutional right to abortion.
“With Ginsburg’s death and the reversal of Roe, there was a setback to women’s constitutional progress,” she wrote in her artist’s statement.
So much for justice being blind:
With an acrimonious culture war over abortion buffeting the country, some lawyers expressed surprise at seeing an artwork, partially framed as a response to the overturning of a Supreme Court decision, atop a state courthouse. But New York has long been at the forefront of the drive for abortion access and New York has moved to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.
Justice Dianne T. Renwick, the first Black female justice at the Appellate Division, First Department, who chairs a committee examining issues of diversity, said that, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in 2020, the court had undertaken a long overdue effort to address gender and racial bias since the courthouse had been built, at a time when women and people of color were erased and overlooked.
Bilefsky was all-in on this symbolic left thumb on the scale of justice: All hail pro-choice heroine Ruth Bader Ginsburg! He quoted art history professor Claire Bishop.
“Maybe she can help channel us back to reinstating Roe v. Wade,” Bishop added, referring to the “NOW” sculpture, which she called “a magical hybrid plant-animal” that was emblematic of the need for “more radiant female energy on the facade of every courthouse.”
Bilefsky forwarded Sikander’s claim she’d been censored after the September 11 attacks “amid a xenophobic backlash against Muslim Americans,” before wrapping up with how her “gleaming, golden sculpture” made women feel good when entering the courthouse:
“We finally have a figure who fully embraces women,” [Justice Dianne] Renwick said. “I cannot come into the courthouse without stepping back and looking up and smiling.”
Bilefsky, whose tone suggests he is all in on abortion “rights,” was last spotted on NewsBusters fighting against the right of anti-COVID vaccine mandate protesters in Canada, even floating the idea of sending troops to break the protests up. So much for "rights."