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.


Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.

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Collaborators & Colleagues

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Grants & Grantees

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Grants & Grantees

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Grants & Grantees

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Collaborators & Colleagues

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“What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia?” Five temporary public artworks, created by artists Ai Weiwei, Zoe Strauss, Kara Crombie, Kaitlin Pomerantz, and Alexander Rosenberg, and on-site “laboratories” for public feedback will consider this question and notions of monumentality within the civic sphere.