Christopher Columbus consists of a traditionally rendered portrait bust of the 15th century explorer Christopher Columbus carved in dark hardwood that has been modified by directly carving a human skull into the bust. By super-imposing the skull onto the traditional rendering, there is an attempt to undermine the authority of the monument and highlight the disputed role of this hero in our culture. Christopher Columbus examines not just falling out of favor of historically significant individuals, but the failure of belief systems, specifically highlighting the failed myth of unending progress promised by the Enlightenment and Modernism. Monumentality speaks in the language of absolutes; this work subverts the idea of absolutes through undermining monumental motifs with irony, humor and pathos. This sculpture critiques the role of authorship in contemporary art production by using the cultural production of an artisan (who crafted the original bust) and using it as the material for the sculpture.
Christopher Columbus is the first sculpture in a series titled Faltering Monuments which will feature similar renderings of men from canon of Western history, ranging from national heroes such as Robert E. Lee and Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as intellectuals such as Karl Marx. Each bust will be heavily vandalized with juvenile graffiti and lowbrow imagery that references heavy metal album art, comic books and cartoons.