Stuart Burch

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26687/archnet-ijar.v11i3.1401


This paper considers the destruction of the Arch of Palmyra in Syria in 2015 and its temporary reconstruction a year later in London’s Trafalgar Square. Attention is paid to an adjacent pedestal known as the Fourth Plinth, with a particular focus on a proposed monument by the Iraqi-American conceptual artist, Michael Rakowitz (born 1973). His works provide the basis for a discussion of public memorials and art’s commemorative function; the preservation, destruction and politicisation of heritage; the role of technology for the purposes of documentation and reconstruction; notions of authenticity; ethics and legal issues surrounding the global trade in cultural artefacts.


Arch of Palmyra; heritage; iconoclasm; Michael Rakowitz; monuments; Trafalgar Square.

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