(Ludovic Marin / AFP / Getty Images)

A Long Walk Through the District

February 17, 2023


Artist, architect, city planner, influential author, Dhiru A. Thadani, in Washington Drawings, Abe to Zoo, delights the eye with thirty-one skilled illustrations and engages the mind with twenty-seven concise essays about Washington, D.C.’s, history, monuments, and memorials. If you are familiar with the insights and telling details of his Language of Towns and Cities, you will expect excellence in observation, though you might not expect the light touch and good fun that Thadani offers here.

Sheltering in place and retiring from civic life gave Dhiru Thadini an opportunity to revisit and reconsider the civic art of his adopted hometown, our nation’s capital. Our monuments and memorials shape our ideas and form our character for good or ill. How we understand our memorials determines how we understand ourselves, which is why those who would change us change or destroy our memories.

Michael Curtis is a sculptor, poet, historian, and artist-in-residence at Common Sense Society. His recent books include Classical Architecture and Monuments of Washington, D.C. and Modern Art: An Exhibition in Criticism.

Originally published in The American Conservative.

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