Two Wheeler Williams statues at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art are seriously damaged after a large van struck the institution’s marble building..
At 9:30 p.m. on October 28, the vehicle entered the museum’s plaza through a small space between a tree and a series of bollards. The van struck a corner of the institution’s original building from 1916, a bench, and two out of three partially draped figures in William’s sculpture trio, Spring, Summer, and Fall, which were acquired by the museum in 1961.
As a result of the incident, approximately a foot of marble was knocked off the building, and Spring and Summer were badly damaged. Photographs appear to show that both of Summer’s raised arms were broken off.
“We are extremely grateful that no one was injured in this incident, particularly in light of the fact that earlier that same day, more than 3,000 people were on our plaza for our Dia De Los Muertos celebration,” chief revenue officer and spokesperson Jeffrey Rhodin told ARTnews in an emailed statement. “We are working closely with law enforcement to determine exactly what happened and who should be held responsible for the damage, as well as with our insurance representatives to see if the damaged sculptures are reparable. We will provide more information as it becomes available.
“In the meantime,” he continued, “we are humbled and thankful for the enormous outpouring of support we have received, both from the people of Memphis and from our peer museums around the country.”
Police are investigating the incident and are expected to review security video of the plaza.
The statues are a popular location in Memphis. Weddings, engagements, proms, and other special events are held in their proximity.