Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia (2015–Present)
Artistic Director and Lead Curator
Philadelphia City Hall
Project Description: Monument Lab is a public art and civic research project that explores the modern concept of a monument for Philadelphia, produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia. Throughout fall 2017, a series of temporary installations by local and international artists will appear in public spaces across the city, accompanied by interactive pop-up “laboratories” for creative conversations and research collected by youth art guides. In addition to the temporary installations, Monument Lab will also include a central exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and a series of public programs and celebrations meant to engage participants in meaningful dialogues and interactive experiences.
Monument Lab is led by Artistic Director Paul M. Farber, Chief Curatorial Advisor Ken Lum, and Deputy Curator A. Will Brown, and includes a team of scholars, students, and artists. The 2017 iteration of Monument Lab will build on a successful pilot research and development phase executed undertaken in spring 2015, funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Conceptualized and led by the same curatorial team, the pilot initial phase included a large installation in the courtyard at City Hall, envisioned by the late artist and University of Pennsylvania professor Terry Adkins. More than 35,000 people who traveled through or visited City Hall got to see and interact with the sculpture and thousands more participated in a series of public conversations between local artists, historians, leaders, and thinkers.
Curatorial Team: Ken Lum, A. Will Brown, Laurie Allen, and Matthew Callinan.
Partners: Major Support for Monument Lab was provided by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Additional partners included Penn Institute for Urban Research, City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, RAIR (Recycled Artist in Residency), Haverford College, PennDesign, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Center for Architecture, and Next City.
Link to Project Website.
The Wall in Our Heads: American Artists and the Berlin Wall (2014–2015)
Goethe-Institut Washington and Haverford College Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery
The Wall in Our Heads: American Artists and the Berlin Wall commemorates the twenty-fifth anniversary of the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and reflects on legacies of division in American culture. The exhibition features critical American artistic perspectives of the Berlin Wall from 1961 through the present, including artworks that confront social boundaries in the United States as well as the complex historical crossroads of Berlin.
Artists: Lindy Annis, Alexandra Avakian, Jonathan Borofsky, Chuck D, Frank Hallam Day, Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab, Ron English, Allen Frame, Leonard Freed, Nan Goldin, Keith Haring, Oliver Harrington, Carol Highsmith, James Huckenpahler, Allan Kaprow, Farrah Karapetian, Nilay Lawson, Oliver Miller, Adrian Piper, Stephanie Syjuco, Shinkichi Tajiri, Bill Van Parys and Reyes Melendez, and Lawrence Weiner.
Partners: The exhibition was commissioned and first shown at the Goethe-Institut Washington from October 15-December 15, 2014. The Wall in Our Heads later traveled to Haverford College's Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery from October 13-December 13, 2015. Haverford's exhibition and its related programming at Haverford College were made possible with the support of Haverford’s new Initiative in Ethical Engagement and Leadership and the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities.
The Wall in Our Heads also received generous support from the following institutions: Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation, Getty Research Institute, Keith Haring Foundation, Library of Congress, Magnum Photos, National Gallery of Art, Provisions Library, and The Wende Museum.
Link to Project Website.
Stephanie Syjuco: American Rubble (Micromonuments) (2014)
American Rubble addressed the physical and social transformation occurring in our cities. Encompassing an artist residency, exhibition, and day-long symposium featuring U-C Berkeley Art Professor Stephanie Syjuco, the project engaged issues from the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to contemporary urban redevelopment projects in Philadelphia's post-industrial neighborhoods. Invited artists, scholars, and students considered both how cultural producers document urban change and economic upheaval, and how they might imagine possibilities for collectivity through urgent forms of public memory. Such a framework aimed to measure changes due to historic "events" but also the less tangible undercurrents of gentrification. Throughout the project, we explored how artistic projects and cultural interventions at sites of memory—including those that draw on rubble, ruins, traces, echoes, memes, and remixes—critically empower a history of the present.
Artists/Scholars: Stephanie Syjuco, Joshua Clover, Susanne Slavick, Salamishah Tillet, and Camilo José Vergara.
Partners: Support for American Rubble was provided by the John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and the Mellon Creative Residencies Program.
Link to Project Website.