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The Future of Monumentality

The High Line and Next City present this speaker series moderated by New York Times critic Salamishah Tillet as a unique intersection of art, design, and urbanism. 

Wednesday – Thursday
January 27 – 28, 2020
1 – 2:30pm ET daily

Over the past year, communities around the world have protested the institutional racism of police violence toward Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people—the same people who have experienced disproportionately devastating health effects and economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most powerful symbols engaged by these protests has been the removal and defacing of monuments, as well as their use as focal points and backdrops for rallies, speeches, performances, and collections of protest signs.

As communities face renewed high-profile debates on the role of monuments in public spaces, we must once again examine the civic, aesthetic, and historical contexts these influential objects inhabit. Against this backdrop, The Future of Monumentality Speaker Series will engage artists, historians, government leaders, and placemakers around issues of power, engagement, and representation. In the first panel, speakers will address monumentality itself; in the second, speakers will offer examples of alternatives to monuments as currently understood in the mainstream.

Amid the many conversations around monuments taking place over the past months and years, and as a new administration takes office, we continue to center the public reckoning around racism in the United States and across the globe. Donations made to support this event are split between Next City and the High Line.

Day 1: What is Monumentality?
Wednesday, January 27
1 – 2:30pm
Moderator:
Salamishah Tillet
Panelists:
Paul Ramírez Jonas
Justin Garrett Moore, AICP, NOMA
Zena Howard, FAIA

Our first panel, “What is Monumentality?,” examines monumentality itself through the lens of art, architecture, and public space. What does it mean to memorialize an event? A person? A movement? What is the relationship between the monument, the narrative it projects, and its audience? Who gets to tell the story? How are monuments wielded by a dominant culture to control and/or subjugate; and conversely, how are these forms leveraged to reclaim lost cultural history?

Day 2: Alternatives to Monumentality
Thursday, January 28
1 – 2:30pm
Moderator:
Salamishah Tillet
Panelists:

Bryan Lee Jr.
Dr. Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák
Rebecca Belmore
Mayor Marvin Rees

For our second event in this series, “Alternatives to Monumentality,” moderator Salamishah Tillet talks with an artist, a historian, a public official, and a placemaker to reimagine the form, function, and role of monuments as we move into the future. Among the broad topics our panel will engage are: how displacing and recontextualizing monuments in post-Soviet Eastern Europe changed the meaning and understanding of these works; how the “Paper Monuments” project in New Orleans centered the Black experience and surfaced untold histories; how interactive performance art creates a space to honor Indigenous ancestral wisdom and storytelling traditions; and more.

Photo by Victoria Pickering

The High Line and Next City present this speaker series moderated by New York Times critic Salamishah Tillet as a unique intersection of art, design, and urbanism. 

Wednesday – Thursday
January 27 – 28, 2020
1 – 2:30pm ET daily

Over the past year, communities around the world have protested the institutional racism of police violence toward Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people—the same people who have experienced disproportionately devastating health effects and economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most powerful symbols engaged by these protests has been the removal and defacing of monuments, as well as their use as focal points and backdrops for rallies, speeches, performances, and collections of protest signs.

As communities face renewed high-profile debates on the role of monuments in public spaces, we must once again examine the civic, aesthetic, and historical contexts these influential objects inhabit. Against this backdrop, The Future of Monumentality Speaker Series will engage artists, historians, government leaders, and placemakers around issues of power, engagement, and representation. In the first panel, speakers will address monumentality itself; in the second, speakers will offer examples of alternatives to monuments as currently understood in the mainstream.

Amid the many conversations around monuments taking place over the past months and years, and as a new administration takes office, we continue to center the public reckoning around racism in the United States and across the globe. Donations made to support this event are split between Next City and the High Line.

Day 1: What is Monumentality?
Wednesday, January 27
1 – 2:30pm
Moderator:
Salamishah Tillet
Panelists:
Paul Ramírez Jonas
Justin Garrett Moore, AICP, NOMA
Zena Howard, FAIA

Our first panel, “What is Monumentality?,” examines monumentality itself through the lens of art, architecture, and public space. What does it mean to memorialize an event? A person? A movement? What is the relationship between the monument, the narrative it projects, and its audience? Who gets to tell the story? How are monuments wielded by a dominant culture to control and/or subjugate; and conversely, how are these forms leveraged to reclaim lost cultural history?

Day 2: Alternatives to Monumentality
Thursday, January 28
1 – 2:30pm
Moderator:
Salamishah Tillet
Panelists:

Bryan Lee Jr.
Dr. Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák
Rebecca Belmore
Mayor Marvin Rees

For our second event in this series, “Alternatives to Monumentality,” moderator Salamishah Tillet talks with an artist, a historian, a public official, and a placemaker to reimagine the form, function, and role of monuments as we move into the future. Among the broad topics our panel will engage are: how displacing and recontextualizing monuments in post-Soviet Eastern Europe changed the meaning and understanding of these works; how the “Paper Monuments” project in New Orleans centered the Black experience and surfaced untold histories; how interactive performance art creates a space to honor Indigenous ancestral wisdom and storytelling traditions; and more.

Photo by Victoria Pickering

Support

High Line programming is made possible by a generous community of supporters. The High Line Network is made possible by the founding support of The JPB Foundation. Other major support is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Major support for High Line Art is provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston.

Next City’s coverage is generously underwritten by the Kresge Foundation.

Lead support for High Line Art comes from Amanda and Don Mullen. Major support is provided by Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, and Charina Endowment Fund. Additional support provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and The Scintilla Foundation. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the New York City Council, under the leadership of NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

Major support for the High Line Plinth comes from the High Line Plinth Committee, a group of contemporary art leaders committed to realizing major commissions and engaging in the public success of the Plinth.

Support for the High Line Plinth is provided by Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros, Elizabeth Belfer, Suzanne Deal Booth, Fairfax Dorn, Steve Ells, Kerianne Flynn, Andy and Christine Hall, Hermine Riegerl Heller and David B. Heller, J. Tomilson and Janine Hill, The Holly Peterson Foundation, Annie Hubbard, Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Amanda and Don Mullen, Douglas Oliver and Sherry Brous, Mario Palumbo and Stefan Gargiulo, Susan and Stephen Scherr, Susan and David Viniar, and Anonymous.

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