RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The New York Times Style Magazine published an article on Thursday listing the 25 most influential works of American protest art since WWII. The Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue topped the list, specifically in its current state.

Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. on Jul. 8, 2020. (Photo Emma North 8News)

The City of Richmond saw a prolonged period of protests following the death of George Floyd in late May. The statue’s base is now covered in graffitied messages. Most messages on the statue are representing the Black Lives Matter movement or calls for police reform. Throughout the summer projections were displayed on the statue as well.

  • Isaiah Bowen, right, takes a shot as his dad, Garth Bowen, center, looks on at a basketball hoop in front of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue
  • Robert E. Lee Monument
  • Band at lee monument
  • Robert E. Lee statue becomes epicenter of protest movement

The circle around the statue became a frequent gathering space not only for protests but also for barbecues, basketball games, gardening and voter registration. For parts of the year a sign at the circle labeled the area as Marcus David-Peters Circle after a Richmond man shot and killed by police in May 2018.

In the article, artist Catherine Opie says she suggested the location because “the transformation of that space, to me, felt like exactly what protest art is.”