What is an appropriate monument for the contemporary city?
This is among the central questions posed by Monument Lab, an independent public art and history studio comprised of curators, artists, scholars, and students. In 2017, they produced and organized a groundbreaking, city-wide exhibition in Philadelphia around this question, featuring temporary, site-specific “prototype monuments” from twenty contemporary artists including Tania Bruguera, Mel Chin, Hans Haacke, Sharon Hayes, and Hank Willis Thomas. The artworks appeared in iconic public squares and neighborhood parks, and were accompanied by learning labs staffed by youth research teams to produce participatory forms of monumental datasets around the past, present, and future of monuments.
The exhibition engaged hundreds of thousands of participants in face to face interactions, and over a million people online. Now, a new book by Monument Lab co-founders Paul M. Farber and Ken Lum glimpses into the strategies and tactics behind the exhibition and studio’s work as a whole, designed to generate new, critical perspectives that 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 an engaged city resident devoted to honoring and unpacking the circuits of public memory.
Join us to celebrate the New York City book launch of the newly-released Monument Lab. Monument Lab Co-editors Paul M. Farber and Ken Lum will be in conversation with MAS President Elizabeth Goldstein about their work on their renowned 2017 citywide exhibition in Philadelphia, perspectives on civic process and power, and the crucial debates on monuments and public art today.
The event includes a speaking program, reception with complimentary food and alcoholic/non-alcoholic refreshments, and a book-signing to follow. $5 advance registration; $10 at the door.
MAS, Monument Lab, Temple University Press, and Housing Works.
Copies of Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia will be on sale.