Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog


Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on November 5, 2015

No, seriously?


The annual InLight Richmond will transform the grounds of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts next weekend. But perhaps the most electrifying reveal will be the wholesale transformation of the Confederate Memorial Chapel. . . .

It will become a focal point of InLight, with the artists planning to turn the memorial into a trippy funhouse full of disorienting light, sound and shadow.

“By illuminating and amplifying the building and visitors’ presence within it,” Dombroski tells Style, “we will create a heightened sensory experience that invites investigation and introspection.”

The artists plan to install several cinema-grade lights on tall stands to illuminate the exterior of the chapel. The interior will be illuminated solely by the light cast through the stained-glass windows. An array of shadows will form on the ceiling, walls and floor. . . .

Dombroski says the sound of a visitor’s step will be emitted seconds later by a speaker behind the pulpit. Visitors’ shadows will dance around the pews.

“All art work has the potential to be political, even if it’s Disney-like,” says InLight juror Alex Baker, director of Fleisher/Ollman Gallery in Philadelphia.


I like my history with a side order of iconoclasm, and I don’t think old Confederates — or anyone else — ought to be thought of as departed saints. But a “trippy funhouse?” “Disney-like?” That’s just ludicrous.




14 Responses

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  1. Betty Giragosian said, on November 5, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Trippy fun house–your words? Why don’t you come to Richmond to see it? Sound and light is very effective
    I am sure your catchy phrase will be adopted by a certain group.
    May I congratulate you upon receiving the Jefferson Davis Historical Gold Medal from the UDC. Have you told your readers about this honour? I don’t recall seeing it–but perhaps I missed that.

    • Andy Hall said, on November 5, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      That term was in the original article.

      Thanks re: the medal. I did not expect that, it was a surprise. I do think I mentioned it at the time, late last year.

    • Betty Giragosian said, on November 28, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      Andy, the InLight show at the Confederate Memorial Chapel was reverent and absolutely beautiful. Hundreds were there waiting to enter. It is too bad that Mr. Spencer of In Style weekly chose to write such an unfortunate article. It was a great success. The stained glass windows were shown more beautifully then ever before. The VMFA has shown the love and care that will be given to the chapel.

      • Andy Hall said, on November 28, 2015 at 7:40 pm

        Thanks for the update. I’d heard that it was not nearly as awful as the InStyle reporter portrayed it to be ahead of time.

        • Betty Giragosian said, on November 28, 2015 at 8:01 pm

          Andy, you are too much. There was nothing ‘awful’ about the InLight show at the chapel!!! Give us a break!!!!!

          • Andy Hall said, on November 28, 2015 at 8:07 pm

            Well, I didn’t think what I said was inappropriate. I didn’t see the light show, but several folks have spoken well of it. I’m glad my concerns, based on the description published on November 5, before the event, turned out to be ill-founded.

            • Betty Giragosian said, on November 28, 2015 at 8:14 pm

              Thanks, Andy

              • Andy Hall said, on November 28, 2015 at 8:51 pm

                Glad to clarify. Have a great weekend.

  2. Ken Parsons, Williamsburg, Va. said, on November 5, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    It is hard for me to believe a good writer like you can do no better than this. You know this is a church where many an old soldier was put to rest and is now considered a memorial to their memory. Do you not have a protest?

    • Andy Hall said, on November 5, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      A good writer can express himself concisely.

      This is a dumb idea.

      How’s that?

  3. Rob Baker said, on November 6, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I’ve seen something like this before – it was, interesting.

    • Ken Parsons, Williamsburg, Va. said, on November 9, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      Yeah, it is a serious desecration of a church and a War Memorial! For what good reason?
      Can someone produce a good reason for this defilement?

      • Rob Baker said, on November 10, 2015 at 8:57 am

        I’d hardly call it desecration, etc. It is an art institute after all. It’s about artistic interpretation. The various colors make the natural colors of the church and the stained glass windows “pop” in an interesting way.

      • Andy Hall said, on November 10, 2015 at 10:09 am

        It’s not a church. It’s a former chapel that was last used for regular services more than 70 years ago. It IS an important and historic structure that needs to preserved and interpreted in a respectful way. I don’t think this art installation does that, but let us not go too far the other direction and make more of this than it warrants. Being too shrill about things like this undermines one’s argument against it.

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