Monument Lab

Creative Speculations for Philadelphia

Edited by Paul M. Farber and Ken Lum
Book Cover

PB: $35.00
EAN: 978-1-4399-1606-3
Publication: Nov 19

336 pages
6.75 x 9.375
160 color photos, 82 halftones

A living handbook for vital perspectives on public art and history

Read the Preface (pdf).

Description

What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? That was the question posed by the curators, artists, scholars, and students who comprise the Philadelphia-based public art and history studio Monument Lab . And in 2017, along with Mural Arts Philadelphia, they produced and organized a groundbreaking, city-wide exhibition of temporary, site-specific works that engaged directly with the community. The installations, by a cohort of diverse artists considering issues of identity, appeared in iconic public squares and neighborhood parks with research and learning labs and prototype monuments.

Monument Lab is a fabulous compendium of the exhibition and a critical reflection of the proceedings, including contributions from interlocutors and collaborators. The exhibition and this handbook were designed to generate new ways of thinking about monuments and public art as well as to find new, critical perspectives to reflect on the monuments we have inherited and to imagine those we have yet to build. Monument Lab energizes a civic dialogue about public art and history around what it means to be a Philadelphian.

Contributors: Alexander Alberro, Alliyah Allen, Laurie Allen, Andrew Friedman, Justin Geller, Kristen Giannantonio, Jane Golden, Aviva Kapust, Fariah Khan, Homay King, Stephanie Mach, Trapeta B. Mayson, Nathaniel Popkin, Ursula Rucker, Jodi Throckmorton, Salamishah Tillet, Jennifer Harford Vargas, Naomi Waltham-Smith, Bethany Wiggin, Mariam I. Williams, Leslie Willis-Lowry, and the editors

Artists: Tania Bruguera, Mel Chin, Kara Crombie, Tyree Guyton, Hans Haacke, David Hartt, Sharon Hayes, King Britt and Joshua Mays, Klip Collective, Duane Linklater, Emeka Ogboh, Karyn Olivier, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Kaitlin Pomerantz, RAIR, Alexander Rosenberg, Jamel Shabazz, Hank Willis Thomas, Shira Walinsky and Southeast by Southeast, and Marisa Williamson

Reviews

“Monument Lab is a stunning achievement—at once a profound meditation on the crisis of the public monument today and an inspirational guide for the future of democracy. In the voices of artists, scholars, curators, and citizens of all ages, colors, and life experiences, this book overflows with ideas about how to remake the monumental spaces we’ve inherited into living places of creativity, community, truth, and hope—places where all of us can declare, as the artist Karyn Olivier says, ‘This is me.’”—Kirk Savage, Dietrich Professor of History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh, and author of Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America

Public art has a long and distinguished history in Philadelphia. The Monument Lab project was designed not only to bring that history to the present but also to interrogate the very notion of what constitutes art in the public realm. Monument Lab is a testimony to the success of the endeavor, a record of the works and conversations related to the project, and a brilliant contribution to the wide conversation about the urgent topics related to the production and display of art outside the walls of a museum.”—Carlos Basualdo, the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Monument Lab project has taken the current controversies of public art and the future place of monuments and creatively engaged the public in serious and often playful ways. Using as its inspiring springboard the city of Philadelphia, with its prominent history and diversity, each monument described soars with meaning and conviction. This book reflects the many accomplishments of Monument Lab, which leads the nation in envisioning cities where public art is embraced by all.”—Elizabeth Goldstein, President, The Municipal Art Society of New York

Paul Farber and Ken Lum’s provocative report on the Monument Lab project asks important questions about public art and provides inspiring answers. What kinds of monuments do we need today? Start by engaging an entire city in thinking about whom and what we commemorate. What kind of art is appropriate? Ask the public to consider this as you commission twenty of today’s most thoughtful artists to create prototype monuments. The results are stunning: art that enlarges our understanding, inspires public participation, and both occupies space and operates through time.”—David B. Brownlee, Professor of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

Preface
Paul M. Farber and Ken Lum

I. ESSAYS

How to Build a Monument
Paul M. Farber

Memorializing Philadelphia as a Place of Crisis and Boundless Hope
Ken Lum

Public Practice
Jane Golden

II. ARTISTS AND REFLECTIONS

Tania Bruguera
Monument to New Immigrants

Reflection: Homay King

Mel Chin
Two Me
Reflection: Ken Lum

Kara Crombie
Sample Philly
Reflection: Justin Geller

Tyree Guyton
THE TIMES
Reflection: Paul M. Farber

Hans Haacke
Digging (Archaeology of the Vacant Lot)
Reflection: Alexander Alberro

David Hartt
for everyone a garden VIII
Reflection: Aviva Kapust

Sharon Hayes
If They Should Ask
Reflection: Jodi Throckmorton

King Britt and Joshua Mays
Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny
Reflection: Mariam I. Williams

Klip Collective
Passage :: Migration
Reflection: Kristen Giannantonio

Duane Linklater
In Perpetuity
Reflection: Stephanie Mach

Emeka Ogboh featuring Ursula Rucker
Logan Squared: Ode to Philly
Reflection: Naomi Waltham-Smith
Epic Poem: Ursula Rucker

Karyn Olivier
The Battle Is Joined
Reflection: Trapeta B. Mayson

Michelle Angela Ortiz
Seguimos Caminando (We Keep Walking)
Reflection: Jennifer Harford Vargas

Kaitlin Pomerantz
On the Threshold (Salvaged Stoops, Philadelphia)
Reflection: Nathaniel Popkin

RAIR (Recycled Artist in Residency)
Plainsight Is 20/20
Reflection: Bethany Wiggin

Alexander Rosenberg
The Built/Unbuilt Square
Reflection: Andrew Friedman

Jamel Shabazz
Love Is the Message
Reflection: Leslie Willis-Lowry

Hank Willis Thomas
All Power to All People
Reflection: Salamishah Tillet

Shira Walinsky and Southeast by Southeast
Free Speech
Reflection: Fariha Khan

Marisa Williamson
Sweet Chariot: The Long Journey to Freedom through Time
Reflection: Alliyah Allen

III. RESEARCH

Reading Imagined Monuments
Laurie Allen

IV. MONUMENTAL EXCHANGES

Monumental Exchange 1
Hank Willis Thomas, Tariq Trotter, and Salamishah Tillet

Monumental Exchange 2
Sharon Hayes, Karyn Olivier, and Paul M. Farber

Monumental Exchange 3
Michael Eric Dyson, Michael Kimmelman, Salamishah Tillet, and Paul M. Farber

Acknowledgments
2017 Exhibition Credits
Exhibition Partners, Supporters, and Sponsors
Illustration Credits
About the Artists
About the Editors and Contributors

About the Author(s)

Paul M. Farber is the Artistic Director of Monument Lab and Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Public Art and Space at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of A Wall of Our Own: An American History of the Berlin Wall.

Ken Lum is the Chief Curatorial Advisor of Monument Lab and an Artist and Professor in and Chair of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a co-author of Shanghai Modern: 1919 - 1945.


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