Plumed Serpent and Art as Civic Discourse
12:30 p.m. | Thursday, January 23, 2020
Photo by flickr user donjd2
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In 1994, Plumed Serpent, artist Robert Graham’s sculpture of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, was installed in downtown San Jose’s Plaza de Cesar Chavez. In the 25 years since, the artwork has become a lightning rod for civic discourse. To some, it is a beautiful homage to Mexican culture, while others debate its artistic merit, religious symbolism, cost and more. Because art gleans meaning from viewers’ perceptions, it has the potential to be all of these things at once. However, some of the narratives are more flawed than others, which is why Plumed Serpent’s story bears investigation. Join us as we examine the democratization of art in a pluralistic community and the role of art as a catalyst of public dialogue.
+ Kerry Adams Hapner / San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs