"In a successful play the principal actors and actresses who contribute to its successes are given due praise... Not so with the artist's model. She remains ever anonymous. She is the tool with which the artist works, and none may do her obeisance, though she provides the inspiration for a masterpiece and is the direct cause of enriching the painter or sculptor”
- Audrey Munson
In New York City, there are only five monuments of named women but hundreds of anonymous ones such as caryatids, sculptures in the form of feminine bodies wearing elaborately draped garments in the place of columns, decorating government buildings, apartment brownstones, and department stores. Plaques publicize the names of the piece, often vague allegorical ideals such as Memory or Justice, and the sculptor, but the woman behind the sculpture remains hidden. The male monument is allowed individuality while her body is an allegory, unable to exist independently as flesh and blood. Looking for the original women behind the sculptures, I found Audrey Munson, Hettie Anderson, and Doris Doscher, three models who posed for many of the unnamed sculptures across the city.
The Caryatid Rebellion is both an interactive comic and video experience with music by Violet June Ciavattone from Machine+ documenting the caryatid and sculptural revolution spearheaded by the Statue of Liberty. The experience begins with the caryatids’ current state, holding up buildings and institutions that continue to exclude and oppress, and documents their eventual rebellion and reclamation of the built world. Creating this world also involved my own process of rebellion by 3D modeling Korean architecture and designing avatars that looked more like me and other people of color, subverting the encoded white standards of beauty in Neoclassical architecture.
The Caryatid Rebellion comic can be found at www.caryatid.place and the full video experience can be seen below.