(Un)Making Monuments is a virtual exhibition exploring how history is marked and mediated through photographic representations of power in public spaces. It features the work of Margaret Bourke-White, Oliver Curtis, Nona Faustine, Lee Friedlander, An-My Lê, Michael Mergen, Joiri Minaya, Mike Osborne, Kaitlin Pomerantz, Matthew Shain, William Earle Williams and Marisa Williamson. 

This virtual exhibition comprises four parts – Making History, Making Sense, Making Presence and Making Space – that will be released each Wednesday between September 30 and October 21, 2020. The exhibition will be open through December 30, 2020, after which it will be archived on our main website. Subscribe to The Print Center’s mailing list below to receive updates on these launches and related public programs. For optimal viewing, we recommend using a desktop computer.

(Un)Making Monuments revisits a variety of American monuments through photography, a medium that records and preserves. Capable of producing an archival document that bears witness to history, photography gives us the visual tools to interpret history. The photographs in this exhibition help us reassess and reimagine the landscape of the nation. 

A variety of monumental subjects are addressed  by the artists in this exhibition – from controversial figures, such as Christopher Columbus and Robert E. Lee, to recognizable icons such as the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore and the White House. Lesser known, anonymous and even accidental markers are also considered. (Un)Making Monuments defines “monument” using the broadest sense of the word.

Debates over the fate of monuments are perennial. In the wake of recent social and racial injustices and a summer of powerful protests, our attention has once again been refocused on monuments. Across the United States, these sites of civic discourse have become sites of cultural reckoning. Whether large or small, cut from stone or cast from metal, monuments are only as stable as the consensus that originally built them. That consensus can, and sometimes, should, change over time. Like the works in this exhibition, monuments provide only a false sense of historical closure. 

This exhibition was organized by Ksenia Nouril, PhD, Jensen Bryan Curator with the assistance of Chelsey Webber-Brandis, Curatorial Intern. The website was designed by Mikaela Hawk, Assistant to the Director.

The Print Center would like to thank the artists as well as Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; and Two Palms, New York.

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