Post written by Elysian Koglmeier on behalf of the Public Art Archive
Monument Lab. Have you heard about it? We’re paying tribute to this monumental public art venture with 20 facts. You’ll get the 20 in a little bit…
- Monument Lab is a public art and history project in Philadelphia.
- It is running from September 16 through November 19th.
- Mural Art Philadelphia co-produced the project with curators Paul Farber* and Ken Lum.
- The project features temporary installations by 20 artists from around the world, from Berlin to Havana to Oakland. 11 of the artists are from Philadelphia.
- The project aims to answer one question: “What is an appropriate monument for the city of Philadelphia?”
- Artists and curators invite Philadelphians and visitors to join a conversation around history, memory and our collective future.
- The monuments are located at 12 iconic public squares and parks around the city including City Hall, Logan Square and Rittenhouse Square.
- The exhibition “hub” is the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
- Each monument is designed to address issues of race, gender, sexuality, class and national belonging.
- Monument Lab was conceived in a classroom five years ago.
- Artist Sharon Hayes presents a cement sculpture portraying the absence of women-dedicated monuments in Philadelphia. If They Should Ask is located in Rittenhouse Square.
- Over 20 events will take place in conjunction with the project including a poetry night, artist talks and a dance party.
- There is an interactive map to help you locate each work.
- DJ King Britt and artist Joshua Mays will lead a one-night-only performance on October 14 in West Philadelphia’s Malcolm X Park that imagines a youth monument to the future.
- The top 3 ranked monuments in Philadelphia, according to Tripadvisor, are The Liberty Bell, The Rocky Statue and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution.
- Monument Lab asks locals and visitors to share their own proposals for monuments. The labs are housed in converted shipping containers and staffed by youth researchers, artists, and community members. The findings can be tracked on their Research page.
- To date, 455 proposals have been submitted from the public and the median age of those submitting proposals is 25.
- Hans Haacke, German born and based in NYC, developed a work that will last the duration of the exhibit. Digging (Archaeology of the Vacant Lot) is a monument to the layers of history. Haacke will start digging on the first day, September 15th, and continue to dig through the duration of the exhibition. He aims to reveal multiple hidden foundations and let the work emerge as the process.
- Monument Lab has received funding from numerous sponsors including The Barnes Foundation, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy.
- What happens to the proposals? During the exhibition, every proposal will be on display at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and added to a map and interactive search system at www.monumentlab.muralarts.org. At the completion of the project, the dataset will be added to OpenDataPhilly, a collection of municipal and cultural datasets available for the public to use and interpret in order to improve civic life, and the collection of proposals will become part of the permanent collection at a local library. A final report that summarizes and analyzes the proposals will be delivered to the city.
*Paul Farber will be participating in WESTAF’s 17th symposium: The Future History of Public Art. He will present in the session The Re-Rise of Impermanence in Public Art.
This gathering of public art practitioners and allied professionals will convene November 5-7 in Honolulu and will take place at the Hawai’i State Art Museum. The symposium is being organized by WESTAF in collaboration with Forecast Public Art and the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.