Friday, July 22, 2005
Law students at the University of Washington will be surrounded not only by the high-tech features of William H. Gates Hall, the school’s fine library, and a coterie of bright and energetic peers, but by world-class art. Next Tuesday, July 26, the school will unveil Doris Chase’s "Monument for Law School" (left). Chase is "a prominent national and international figure whose works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian and many other public institutions," and she created the Monument to honor her father and brother.
The work, with its rocket-ship-like design, contrasts law’s aspirations and its claims to soar above mere politics by showing it nevertheless firmly earthbound, anchored to its pedestal by its legs, unable to escape the forces of everyday life. The pedestal itself is a wry reference to the way lawyers tend to hold the law up as something sacred and entitled to devotion. The hole in the center of the rocket ship recognizes the critical insight that despite traditional claims of law as an autonomous and self-contained body of knowledge, there is a void at the center (the very place where the direction of the rocket ship would be set) which can be filled only by non-legal values and interests.
The legal world is welcome to attend the festivities, which will be at 10:00 a.m. at the northwest entrance to Gates Hall. RSVPs are appreciated. Email here.