MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The artist behind a controversial structure at the Walker Art Center’s Sculpture Garden is speaking out about the piece.

L.A.-based artist Sam Durant created “Scaffold,” a sculpture based on a composite of historical gallows. One of the gallows depicted was inspired by the hanging of 38 Dakota tribe members in Mankato in 1862.

The sculpture was unveiled last week, just days before the planned reopening of the Sculpture Garden on June 3. The reopening has since been rescheduled to June 10.

Demonstrators showed up at the sculpture over the weekend and have vowed to return every day until it is taken down. Walker administrators have said they will meet with Dakota elders on Wednesday to discuss how to dismantle the structure.

“I made Scaffold as a learning space for people like me, white people who have not suffered the effects of a white supremacist society and who may not consciously know that it exists,” Durant wrote in a statement.

“In focusing on my position as a white artist making work for that audience I failed to understand what the inclusion of the Dakota 38 in the sculpture could mean for Dakota people. I offer my deepest apologies for my thoughtlessness. I should have reached out to the Dakota community the moment I knew that the sculpture would be exhibited at the Walker Art Center in proximity to Mankato.”

Durant will also meet with Dakota elders Wednesday. Read his full statement here.

Comments (4)
  1. Why is he trying to make the native american suffer some more by his art in the first place?