Sep 15, 2017

Monument Lab Is a Go

by: Laura Kochman

Whoa! Monument Lab is finally here. The massive, citywide exhibition we’ve been talking about for over a year launches tomorrow, Saturday, September 16, with a special event in the courtyard at City Hall from 1–4 p.m. The projects of Monument Lab span so many topics and ideas, and we’re starting off by highlighting the artists whose work is at the center of the city: Mel Chin’s Two Me in the City Hall courtyard; Michelle Angela Ortiz’s Seguimos Caminando (We Keep Walking), which will be projected on the gates at City Hall; and Hank Willis Thomas’ All Power to All People across the street at the Municipal Services Building Plaza. All three artworks involve representation and community, attempting to answer the central question of Monument Lab: What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? As the exhibition continues through November, we’ll continue our Saturday Spotlight series at all ten squares and parks that make up the main project sites—and all labs will be open on the 16th.

Two Me by Mel Chin. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Saturday Spotlight: City Hall, with music, food, and thoughtful conversation.

City Hall Courtyard
1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard

Saturday, September 16
1–4 p.m.

Artists Mel Chin, Michelle Angela Ortiz, and Hank Willis Thomas. Look for a special appearance from Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter of The Roots, in conversation with Hank Willis Thomas.

The Battle is Joined by Karyn Olivier. Photo by Mike Reali.

Our next event is a Monumental Exchange at the University of the Arts—a public conversation between artists Sharon Hayes and Karyn Olivier. Sharon Hayes’ If They Should Ask is a series of pedestals in Rittenhouse Square, carved with the names of Philadelphia-area women who could or should be memorialized, calling attention to the absence of monuments to women in our city. In Vernon Park, Karyn Olivier has covered the Battle of Germantown Memorial with a mirrored structure for The Battle Is Joined, allowing the neighborhood to see themselves and their humanity in its surface. The two artists will be in conversation at UArts on Wednesday, September 20, from 6–8 p.m., the first in a series of four Monumental Exchanges.

Monumental Exchange #1: Sharon Hayes and Karyn Olivier

CBS Auditorium, Dorrance Hamilton Hall
The University of the Arts
320 South Broad Street

Wednesday, September 20
6–8 p.m.

Artists Sharon Hayes and Karyn Olivier, moderated by Monument Lab curator Paul M. Farber.

If They Should Ask by Sharon Hayes. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Lead Monument Lab partners include the City of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Parks & Recreation; Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy; Historic Philadelphia; Independence National Historic Park; Penn Institute for Urban Research; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Price Lab for Digital Humanities; and the University of Pennsylvania.

Major support for Monument Lab projects staged in Philadelphia’s five squares has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

An expanded artist roster and projects at five neighborhood sites have been made possible by a significant grant from the William Penn Foundation.

Lead corporate sponsor is Bank of America.

Additional support has been provided by Susanna Lachs & Dean Adler, William & Debbie Becker, CLAWS Foundation, Comcast NBCUniversal, Davis Charitable Foundation, Hummingbird Foundation, J2 Design, National Endowment for the Arts, Nick & Dee Adams Charitable Fund, Parkway Corporation, PECO, Relief Communications LLC, Sonesta Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square, Stacey Spector & Ira Brind, Tiffany Tavarez, Tuttleman Family Foundation, Joe & Renee Zuritsky, and 432 Kickstarter backers. Support for Monument Lab‘s final publication provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

Media partner: WHYY

Last updated: Sep 15, 2017

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