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  • 1 Vancouver, Canada
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Abstract

The residents of Fremont neighborhood in Seattle Washington, witnessed the installation of a 16 feet, bronze statue of V. I. Lenin in June of 1995. The statue, which had formerly gazed upon the city of Poprad in Slovakia, had been purchased for $13,000 in 1993 by a local English teacher Lewis Carpenter, who came upon it in a scrap heap during his stay in Poprad. The ensuing debates that filled the local papers, questioned the appropriateness of the statue in the heart of Seattle's liberal business sector. What did it mean, they wondered, to have the leader of the October Revolution stride towards the fast food restaurant, Taco Del Mar. My paper argues that the reactivation of the monument's political meaning in Seattle was only possible because it moved outside the traditional channels of the museum and its protective walls.

  • 1. Ellis E. Conklin An Irony Curtain Falls in Fremont; Statue of Lenin Arises and Sets off a Furor of Revolutionary StyleSeattle Post Intelligencer, June 22, 1995: B1.

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  • 2. Charles Richter “Center of the Universe: Fremont's Leader Suzie Baker Should Toss Out Lenin ‘art’” The Seattle Times, Editorial, December 7, 1996: A13.

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  • 3. Cited in “Northwest voices: A sampling of reader's letters, faxes and e-mails” The Seattle Times, July 19, 2001: B5.

  • 4. Charles Davis “Fremont's Art: If Lenin Statue is a Hit, Maybe Hitler Comes Next” The Seattle Times, Editorial, October 27, 1996: B7?.

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  • 5. Emmett Watson No Capitalist, Lenin Isn't For Sale, But You Can Try to Rent HimThe Seattle Times, September 12, 1993: B2.

  • 6. Robert Benish Cited in “Northwest Voices” B5.

  • 7. Watson, B2.

  • 8. V.I. Lenin , On Literature and Art, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1967: 245.

  • 9. Louis Corsaletti With Lenin, Local Man Has Statue of Limitations: Its Hard to Travel with 7-ton BronzeThe Seattle Times, May 7, 1993: C1.

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  • 10. Ibid.

  • 11. Mark Lewis What Is To Be Done?Public Art: Photographs and Projects, Exhibition Catalogue, Vancouver: UBC Fine Arts Gallery, 1994: 69.

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  • 12. Robert Myers And One More Idea…Seattle Weekly, January 19, 2005: 27.

  • 13. Michael Asher's handout for the exhibition printed in Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Noe-Avantgarde and Culture Industry: Essays on European and American Art from 1955 to 1975, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003: 31.

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  • 14. Cited in Jennifer King “Perpetually Out of Place: Michael Asher and Jean-Antoine Houdon at the Art Institute of Chicago” October120, Spring 2007, 71–86: 79.

  • 15. See for example Claude Gintz “Michael Asher and the Transformation of Situational Aesthetics” October 66, Fall 1993: 113131.

  • 16. King, 82.