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Anti-Monument by Catesby Leigh

A conceptual design for a war memorial prioritizes the individual over the community, upending a centuries-old architectural language.

Now considered an American icon, Maya Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial marked a radical departure from traditional monumental architecture. In Anti-Monument, writer Catesby Leigh examines Lin’s design concept, explaining the controversy it caused and defining the memorial’s legacy. Monuments determine our remembrance of the past. And as Leigh writes, “[the] community that denies the presence of its past — that is, the aspects of its past worthy of reverence and emulation — is doomed.”

Catesby Leigh writes about public art and architecture and lives in Washington, D.C. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, City Journal, First Things, Modern Age, National Review, the Weekly Standard and other publications. He is a co-founder and past chair of the National Civic Art Society.

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