Naked ‘Me Too’ Medusa statue, with waxed hoo-hoo, going up in front of a Manhattan courthouse

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A bronze statue of the Greek mythological character Medusa is causing a stir before it has even been installed in front of a New York City courthouse.

The seven-foot-tall statue, based on the 2008 sculpture by Luciano Garbati, depicts a reimagined version of the classic Greek tale and has come to take on new meaning for proponents of the #MeToo movement. But some physical aspects of the artwork as well as its location across from the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse have sparked debates across social media.

“The seven-foot bronze sculpture inverts the narrative of Medusa, portraying her in a moment of somberly empowered self-defense,” the Medusa With the Head project announced in a press release about the upcoming installation of the statue.

The statue is set to make its appearance in the park across from the downtown Manhattan courthouse where disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was tried.

Garbati’s Medusa re-imagined the myth about the woman who was turned into a monster and relates directly to the 16th Century bronze masterpiece Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini.

According to the MWTH project website:

In Ovid’s Metamorphosis, Medusa was a maiden in the temple of Athena, who was stalked and raped by Poseidon. Athena, in a rage, banishes and curses Medusa with a monstrous head of snakes and a gaze which turns men to stone. Medusa is herself blamed and punished for the crime of which she was the victim; she is cast away as a monster and then with the cruel assistance of Athena and Poseidon, eventually is hunted-down and beheaded by the epic hero Perseus, who displays her head as a trophy on his shield.

 

The new version of Medusa gave a powerful symbol for the #MeToo movement, as it shows the mythological character holding a sword and the head of Perseus instead, though it was actually Poseidon who raped her.

“This narrative of victim-shaming in stories of sexual violence echoes through time, and into the present day ‘me too’ movement,” the MWTH project team noted. “In 2018, Garbati posted a photograph of his original sculpture to social media. This re-imagined Medusa went viral and became a symbol of resistance worldwide, inspiring thousands of women to reach out and share their own stories.”

But news of erecting the statue next week sparked some questions on social media where some wondered if the location of the piece would send the wrong message.

In another slightly odd line of Twitter discussion, there seemed to be one glaring issue with the statue.

But many others shared a collective eyeroll over the #MeToo connection.

 

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Frieda Powers

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