Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia

1/9: The crowd gathers at the late Terry Adkins’ temporary monument in City Hall Courtyard, on the opening day of Monument Lab. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
2/9: The late Terry Adkins’ temporary monument at City Hall Courtyard, the central meeting place for Penn Institute for Urban Research’s Monument Lab. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
3/9: A member of the crowd brainstorms a monument at the Monument Lab “storefront” space in City Hall Courtyard, the day of the project’s opening. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
4/9: A senior from Masterman High School performs at the opening of Monument Lab, at Terry Adkins’ temporary monument in City Hall Courtyard. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
5/9: The crowd at the opening of Monument Lab, at Terry Adkins’ temporary monument in City Hall Courtyard. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
6/9: Monument Lab co-curator Paul Farber speaks at the project’s opening in City Hall Courtyard. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
7/9: Monument Lab co-curator Ken Lum speaks at the project’s opening at City Hall Courtyard. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
8/9: Jane Golden, Director of Mural Arts, speaks at the opening of Monument Lab in the City Hall Courtyard. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
9/9: Terry Adkins, Blanche Bruce, and the Lone Wolf Recital Corps perform The Last Trumpet as part of the Performa Biennial 2013. Photo courtesy of the Estate of Terry Adkins and Salon 94, New York.

This project will pose the question: What does a 21st-century urban monument look like? The centerpiece of this exploration, overseen by curators A. Will Brown, Paul Farber, and Ken Lum, will be a temporary monument designed by the late, award-winning artist and University of Pennsylvania professor Terry Adkins, to be installed in City Hall’s central courtyard in the spring of 2015. Adkins’ monument addresses the traumatic wave of Philadelphia school closings that occurred in 2013. A Center City storefront “lab” also located at City Hall, which also opens in the spring of 2015, will serve as project headquarters, where participating artists, curators and Philadelphia citizens will brainstorm and instigate ideas for the appropriate monument for contemporary Philadelphia. This project will precede a planned Philadelphia monuments festival, to take place in 2017.

Filmmaker Bill Morrison and composer Vijay Iyer created a site-specific installation in Eastern State Penitentiary, a once abandoned 19th-century prison.

Questions of Practice

Katharina Grosse’s epic psychylustro—a five-mile-long “painting” sprayed intermittently along a stretch of train tracks in northeast Philadelphia—challenges a number of assumptions about the role of both painting and public art. Here, painter Dushko Petrovich offers his perspective.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Ranee Ramaswamy founded Ragamala Dance in 1993, and currently serves as co-artistic director. She is a master teacher, performer, and choreographer of the South Indian classical form of bharata natyam.

Asian Arts Initiative’s project to revitalize Pearl Street, an under-used alley behind its building in Philadelphia’s Chinatown North neighborhood, is featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Chemical Heritage Foundation’s participatory program for high school students generates discussion and thinking about the history of science and technology as it relates to contemporary life.

Sheila Hicks: 50 Years, on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art in 2011, received media attention from the New York Times and Artforum.

The Legacy Center at Drexel will take materials from their vast collection—formerly accessible to researchers and scholars only—and make them available online to new audiences.

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia concluded a two-year project around the commission of a new, hybrid choral work by composer Julia Wolfe.

In the introductory essay of the monograph accompanying the Center-funded Jason Rhoades, Four Roads presented at the Institute of Contemporary Art in 2013, chief curator Ingrid Schaffner contextualizes the artist’s sprawling work and ambitions.

Grants & Grantees

Homer Jackson is a visual artist, performance artist, and a 1998 Pew Fellow.

Philly.com gives us a sneak preview of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s upcoming Center-funded project with Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse, which will make Philadelphians’ daily commutes more colorful.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Barkley L. Hendricks (b. 1945 in Philadelphia) is a figurative painter and photographer best known for his life-sized portraits of people of color from the urban northeast.