Manuel Acevedo, Cam-Up Happening: Live at the Wars of America monument in Military Park
Friday, October 11, 12 Noon (Rain Date: Sunday, October 13)
Meeting Place: Wars of America monument
Manuel Acevedo has been thinking creatively and critically about Military Park for most of his life. For decades, he has been creating artworks and proposals to contend with the monument's messages of war and conflict, and its sculptor, Gutzon Borglum's, connections with the Klu Kux Klan. Join featured artist Acevedo and a team of collaborators as they climb the historic Wars of America sculpture – to cover, treat, and engage the the monument by hand with a series of camouflage veils and bring his proposals to life. Acevedo's Cam-Up Happening is presented in coordination with New Arts Justice and Monument Lab's A Call to Peace and the Newark Arts Festival.
Acevedo’s enduring interest in the site informed a series of proposals for public intervention to confront the history of wars, civilian bombings, and systemic oppression (now on view near the Wars of America monument in Military Park. From his photo documentation of the 1986 “End Apartheid Now” rally to aerial views of the park’s symbolic shape, Acevedo’s documentation and research on Military Park spans over three decades.
In the early 1980s, as a Newark Arts High School student, Acevedo walked through the park and began questioning its central landmark, Wars of America (1926). Soon after, he began documenting, reflecting, and envisioning temporary ways to change the physical appearance of the monument.
“I was drawn to the piece for its movement, how it was built on an incline, the way it occupied space, and its larger-than-life figures—that upon closer examination, did not reflect the local community I witnessed gathering around the central landmark. I became increasingly intrigued by the social juxtaposition inherent in Military Park,” offered Acevedo.
Acevedo seeks to publicly uncover Borglum’s ignored or forgotten history through a “public happening” in Military Park during the Newark Arts Festival. Drawing on his own archive of documentary images and hand-drawn approaches to grappling with the monument, Acevedo’s project includes a "Happening' bringing his Cam-Up proposals to living scale, and is joined by a re-envisioned historic sign installed in the park for the duration of the exhibition.