In Spring 2015, Monument Lab – a team of curators, scholars, students, and artists – organized a public art and historical research project at Philadelphia’s City Hall. The project asked Philadelphians a central guiding question: What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia?
To address that question, Monument Lab staged an interactive research pavilion and temporary public art installation in the courtyard of City Hall. The centerpiece – a prototype monument by the late artist Terry Adkins – was a minimalist interpretation of a 19th century classroom meant to invite reflection on educational innovation and loss in this city. Each day leading civic thinkers shared dialogue with the public in free lunchtime conversations. Monument Lab also asked four other leading Philadelphia artists – Zoe Strauss, Kara Crombie, Alexander Rosenberg, and Kaitlin Pomerantz of WE THE WEEDS – to share speculative monument proposals for the other public squares of Penn’s historic city plan: Franklin, Logan, Rittenhouse and Washington.
During Monument Lab’s month-long pilot installation, hundreds of participants authored their own public monument proposals for the city, and over 35,000 people engaged with the project.
Support for the research and development of this project has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.