RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has announced that their upcoming Monument Avenue statue, Rumors of War, will depict none other than Jim West, Will Smith’s character from the 1999 film “Wild Wild West.” The statue by acclaimed artist Kehinde Wiley is said to be a “direct response” to the Confederate monuments that are scattered throughout Richmond.
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Scheduled to be unveiled in September, the statue will show Jim West, desperado and rough rider, in triumph after defeating former Confederate scientist Dr. Arliss Loveless and his giant, mechanical spider. Wiley, whose work is known for its depiction of African Americans in classically European poses and portraits styles, said it was an easy and obvious choice when deciding on who would be representing the latest addition to the popular street.
“Jim West was truly an American hero,” Wiley explained in an interview, adding that his bravery in defeating Loveless without a gigantic fly-swatter deserved to be enshrined and honored.
“He’s a fine Civil War veteran that should be remembered. As a founding member of the Secret Service, he not only saved the life of President Grant, but America itself from becoming the empire of legless madman. There is no one else more deserving to be commemorated in bronze than Jim West.”
However, the announcement has caused controversy, with many arguing that the “Wild Wild West” was set after the Civil War, that “Willennium” is Will Smith’s worst album, that Jim West was not real, and that Artemus Gordon was the true hero in stopping Dr. Loveless’ revenge plot.
In response to Wiley’s announcement, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) announced plans to erect a statue of General “Bloodbath” McGrath, the “Butcher of New Liberty,” who was played by Ted Levine in “Wild Wild West.”
“General McGrath served the South loyally to the very end,” said a spokesperson for the UDC. “He was a true son of the Confederacy, so he deserves a statue, regardless of any genocide against freed slaves he may have committed.”
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