Road to Perdition (installation)
Region: North America
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Medium: Public Art
Artist: Marcos Ramirez (b. 1961)
Confronting Bodies: Residents of Reading Pennsylvania
Date of Action: September 2003
Location: Reading, Pennsylvania
Description of Artwork: Ramirez's piece, Road to Perdition, resembles a highway sign, green with white lettering, and was scheduled to be mounted on a billboard near a busy bridge in Reading, PA. The sign is a list of eight cities that had been bombed by the United States over the past two centuries, the dates of the bombings, and their distances from Reading, PA. (i.e. “Ciudad de Mexico, 3,202 km. 1847”, “Baghdad 9,897 km. 2003)
The Incident: The citizens of Reading, including city councilpersons and business owners, protested the installation of the piece, accusing Ramirez of "America-bashing." The billboard company refused to lend the sculpture's organizers, Mexico Illuminated, the billboard space.
Results of Incident: Mexico Illuminated, in addition to several local politicians, vowed to find a space for Ramirez's piece. Ramirez, from his studio in Tijuana, digitally super-imposed the artwork on the billboard, made a wall-sized print of the montage, which was mounted in the annex of the main exhibition at Albright College (in Reading), along with documentation of the controversy.