Gail Rothschild

Muted Belles

1994


Mixed media. 14 x 8 x 8 feet
Commissioned by the University of Memphis

Situated in a public plaza in front of the University gallery, Muted Belles is a monument to women of Memphis. The structure refers to Southern neo-classical plantation architecture but also to monuments based on the Greek temple which usually celebrate the achievements of men. Wrapped around the classical columns are shapes that are a cross between bells and hoop skirts. Bells may ring to celebrate or to warn, these bells/belles are muted by a historical record that ignores them. Around the entablature are the names of eight historical Memphis women, including Ida B. Wells (1862-1931), an African-Amerian educator who led an international movement against lynching in the United States. The selections were made by a committee of women historians and professors. In addition to the sculptures, an eight-page publication was published which includes the text of the discussion amongst the historians, personal statements by students, and essays by professors.

Muted Belles, 1994
Mixed media, 14 x 8 x 8 feet

Muted Belles, 1994
Mixed media, 14 x 8 x 8 feet

Muted Belles, 1994
Mixed media, 14 x 8 x 8 feet

Muted Belles, 1994
Mixed media, 14 x 8 x 8 feet