unmonumentATL: Ruth Dusseault

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For our unmonumentATL series, we asked 13 artists to share their personal un-monuments with our readers. From January 13 to 29, we will present one artist’s submission per day. And don’t miss Nick Kahler‘s incisive two-part essay on the subject. UnmonumentATL was conceived by former BURNAWAY editor Rachel Reese. 

Stack Atlantic Steel 1999Atlantic Steel Industries
Atlanta, Georgia
Have you seen this smoke stack? It was once a visible landmark of Atlantic Steel Industries, a large-scale industrial site that occupied the 133 acres known today as Atlantic Station. Atlantic Steel Industries started operations in 1901, making steel ties for cotton bales. It quickly grew to supply much of the metal building materials needed to rebuild the South. Although a federal EPA survey concluded that the mill had historic status, giving the state the legal ammunition to save what it wanted, none of its structures were incorporated into the new design.  Instead, the architecture of the new mall area echoes the vernacular of the demolished mill. Only three engineering remnants were salvaged from the 44 buildings that once stood there, including this smoke stack, which ventilated the cooling system in the blooming mill. It was moved several times, resting finally amid interpretive signage outside the Target parking lot. Historic photographs of the old mill are found online through the Atlanta History Center.
The High Museum holds an archive of photographs by artist Ruth Dusseault, who documented the demolition, environmental engineering, and various stages of this massive urban transformation. Video of the demolition can be viewed online here.

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