The Print Center

Matthew Shain

How can photography be used to show what cannot be seen? The series “Post-Monuments” contemplates the absence, as much as the presence, of monuments in our everyday landscape. In 2017 and 2018, Matthew Shain photographed empty plinths and pedestals shortly after their statues to the Confederacy were taken down – some by force, others by choice. Taken in several major Southern cities, as well as in the North, each black-and-white photograph is framed in Prussian Blue, the color of the Union Army uniform.

A native of the San Francisco Bay area, Shain was living in New Orleans when he began this series as a way to better understand and respond to the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow. “Post Monuments” confronts these tangible histories by blatantly picturing the voids left behind. The removal of a statue does not mark the end of a reckoning but a beginning – a turning point at which history can be reassessed and rewritten.

Artist Biography