Monument Lab: Book Launch and Public Conversation

with Paul M. Farber, Ken Lum, and Elizabeth Goldstein

Online ticket sales are now closed. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $10.

What is an appropriate monument for the contemporary city?

This is among the central questions posed by Monument Lab, an independent public art and history studio comprised of curators, artists, scholars, and students. In 2017, they produced and organized a groundbreaking, city-wide exhibition in Philadelphia around this question, featuring temporary, site-specific “prototype monuments” from twenty contemporary artists including Tania Bruguera, Mel Chin, Hans Haacke, Sharon Hayes, and Hank Willis Thomas. The artworks appeared in iconic public squares and neighborhood parks, and were accompanied by learning labs staffed by youth research teams to produce participatory forms of monumental datasets around the past, present, and future of monuments.

The exhibition engaged hundreds of thousands of participants in face to face interactions, and over a million people online. Now, a new book by Monument Lab co-founders Paul M. Farber and Ken Lum glimpses into the strategies and tactics behind the exhibition and studio’s work as a whole, designed to generate new, critical perspectives that reflect on the monuments we have inherited and to imagine those we have yet to build. Monument Lab energizes a civic dialogue about public art and history around what it means to be an engaged city resident devoted to honoring and unpacking the circuits of public memory.

Join us to celebrate the New York City book launch of the newly-released Monument Lab. Monument Lab Co-editors Paul M. Farber and Ken Lum will be in conversation with MAS President Elizabeth Goldstein about their work on their renowned 2017 citywide exhibition in Philadelphia, perspectives on civic process and power, and the crucial debates on monuments and public art today.

The event includes a speaking program, reception with complimentary food and alcoholic/non-alcoholic refreshments, and a book-signing to follow. $5 advance registration; $10 at the door. 100% of proceeds go to Housing Works, a New York City based non-profit fighting the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness.

Co-Hosted by:
MAS, Monument Lab, Temple University Press, and Housing Works.

Copies of Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia will be on sale at Housing Works.

Wednesday, February 19
6:30 PM — 8:30 PM

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe & Bar
126 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012

Member: $5 online; $10 at the door (online ticket sales are now closed)
Non-member: $5 online; $10 at the door (online ticket sales are now closed)

  • Karyn Olivier, The Battle is Joined statue
    Karyn Olivier, The Battle is Joined, Monument Lab 2017. Photo: Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Philadelphia.
    photo 1 of 4
  • Tania Bruguera, Monument for New Immigrants statue
    Tania Bruguera, Monument for New Immigrants, Monument Lab 2017. Photo: Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Philadelphia.
    photo 2 of 4
  • Vernon Park Research Lab
    Vernon Park Research Lab, Monument Lab 2017. Photo: Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Philadelphia.
    photo 3 of 4
  • close up of research proposal form for Monument Lab
    Research Proposal Form, Monument Lab 2017. Photo: Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Philadelphia.
    photo 4 of 4

Praise for Monument Lab
“Monument Lab is a stunning achievement—at once a profound meditation on the crisis of the public monument today and an inspirational guide for the future of democracy. In the voices of artists, scholars, curators, and citizens of all ages, colors, and life experiences, this book overflows with ideas about how to remake the monumental spaces we’ve inherited into living places of creativity, community, truth, and hope—places where all of us can declare, as the artist Karyn Olivier says, ‘This is me.’”—Kirk Savage, Dietrich Professor of History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh, and author of Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America

“The Monument Lab project has taken the current controversies of public art and the future place of monuments and creatively engaged the public in serious and often playful ways. Using as its inspiring springboard the city of Philadelphia, with its prominent history and diversity, each monument described soars with meaning and conviction. This book reflects the many accomplishments of Monument Lab, which leads the nation in envisioning cities where public art is embraced by all.”—Elizabeth Goldstein, President, The Municipal Art Society of New York

Speaker Details:
Paul M. Farber is the Artistic Director of Monument Lab and Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Public Art and Space at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of A Wall of Our Own: An American History of the Berlin Wall.

Ken Lum is the Chief Curatorial Advisor of Monument Lab and an Artist and Professor in and Chair of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a co-author of Shanghai Modern: 1919 – 1945.

Elizabeth Goldstein is the President of the Municipal Art Society of New York.

About Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia
Featured Artists: Tania Bruguera, Mel Chin, Kara Crombie, Tyree Guyton, Hans Haacke, David Hartt, Sharon Hayes, King Britt and Joshua Mays, Klip Collective, Duane Linklater, Emeka Ogboh, Karyn Olivier, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Kaitlin Pomerantz, RAIR, Alexander Rosenberg, Jamel Shabazz, Hank Willis Thomas, Shira Walinsky and Southeast by Southeast, and Marisa Williamson.

Featured Contributors: Alexander Alberro, Alliyah Allen, Laurie Allen, Andrew Friedman, Justin Geller, Kristen Giannantonio, Jane Golden, Aviva Kapust, Fariah Khan, Homay King, Stephanie Mach, Trapeta B. Mayson, Nathaniel Popkin, Ursula Rucker, Jodi Throckmorton, Salamishah Tillet, Jennifer Harford Vargas, Naomi Waltham-Smith, Bethany Wiggin, Mariam I. Williams, Leslie Willis-Lowry, and the editors.


In Partnership With
  • logo for Monument Lab
  • logo for Temple University
  • logo for Housing Works