GSA has issued rules to carry out a July executive order stating that in placing works of art in their buildings, agencies are to prioritize those that “portray historically significant Americans or events of American historical significance or illustrate the ideals upon which our Nation was founded.”
Rules in the September 25 Federal Register revise the GSA’s Art in Architecture program, under which agencies must incorporate fine arts–including painting, sculpture and work in other media—into the “total building concept” when designing new buildings and when making substantial repairs and alterations to existing ones.
The rules state that “Particular priority should be given to public-facing statues of or monuments to former Presidents of the United States and to individuals and events relating to the discovery of America, the founding of the United States and the abolition of slavery or others who contributed positively to America’s history.”
The phrase “historically significant American” further includes persons “such as Christopher Columbus, Junipero Serra, and the Marquis de La Fayette, who lived prior to or during the American Revolution and were not American citizens, but who made substantive historical contributions to the discovery, development, or independence of the future United States.”
The rules add that GSA will prioritize projects that “will result in the installation of a statue in a community where a statue depicting a historically significant American was removed or destroyed in 2020.”
Further, “When a commissioned statue or work of art is meant to depict a historically significant American, the statue or work of art must be a lifelike or realistic representation of that person, not an abstract or modernist representation.”