PennDesign News

Posted September 29, 2017

Monumental Project Rethinks Public Art in Philadelphia

From founding fathers who gave birth to this country, but owned enslaved Africans and supported slavery, to Confederate generals who fought to uphold slavery and destroy the perpetual union, a debate is raging in America over how public monuments memorialize or misrepresent the nation’s history, and if they should stand or fall.

Now, as part of Monument Lab, a Philadelphia public art and history project, three PennDesign Fine Arts professors—David HarttSharon Hayes, and Shira Walinsky—are joining artists and residents to answer the question, “What makes a monument in the 21st century?”

The question also inspired “Monument Lab: Public Art & Civic Research Praxis,” a PennDesign Fine Arts community-based research course.

Temporary Monument Lab art installations unveiled Sept. 16 are on display through Sunday, Nov. 19, in five public squares: City Hall (once known as Center Square); Franklin Square; Washington Square; Logan Circle (originally Logan Square); and Rittenhouse Square, and in five neighborhood parks: Penn Treaty, Vernon, Norris Square, Malcolm X, and Marconi Plaza.

Produced with Mural Arts Philadelphia, Ken Lum, chair of the Fine Arts Department at PennDesign, and Paul Farber, managing director of the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, led the curatorial team. Farber also teaches the course at Penn associated with the project. 

Read the full story in Penn Current.