June 10, 2010

Social Sculpture, Limited Edition

I started out the day today wishing I had cable so I could watch Bravo’s new show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. Then I read some news,  and now my mind is wrapped around the idea of martyr figurines, and the stakes involved in a kind of social sculpture we simply aren’t ever going to see on that tv show. I’m concerned about the woeful fate of the 40 factory women mass-producing statuettes of Neda Agha-Soltan in Northern Iran. The factory responsible for the statuette of Agha-Soltan as well as others who were killed during last year’s protests has been shut down, according to the Aty News Website. The NYTimes carries a short story on this today. Here is the only image I could find of the statuette, which represents Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who was killed by Iranian government security forces during the suppression of election protests in Tehran in June 2009. Her death has been called calculated murder by Iranian opposition parties and the international community, and the Iranian government has called it a staged death by the forces of occidental imperialism.

Statuette of Neda Agha-Soltan, banned.

There is something deeply urgent about this object. And about its coming into being, and what it will mean to possess one of the examples. How many now exist?  Did the same artist create all of the original martyrs for casting? Will we ever see the other figurines? What size are they? What are they made out of? Where would you keep a statuette such as this one? Would they be for sale? Do you readers know of other such figurines in world markets or sub-markets? Could we begin to create an archive of images of these figurines?

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