“Chris E. Vargas and MOTHA: Consciousness Razing: The Stonewall Re-Memorialization Project,” Exhibition View: New Museum New York. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio
As the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots nears, this Professional Development Workshop for Educators will consider how monuments may, or may not, reflect one’s experiences or understandings of history and aspirations for the future of public space. In 2016, President Obama designated Stonewall Inn and the adjacent Christopher Park as a national monument to commemorate the 1969 uprising, often cited as a formative event for gay liberation and the modern LGBTQI civil rights movement in the US. Mainstream accounts of the Stonewall Riots have regularly left out those activists who led the fight against violence and police brutality against queer and trans people—including Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major, and many others—as well as their more radical demands and their critiques of racism, economic marginalization, and transphobia that continues to affect queer communities today.
This program is presented on the occasion of “Consciousness Razing: The Stonewall Re-memorialization Project,” which embeds artist-in-residence Chris E. Vargas’s semi-fictional Museum of Transhirstory & Art (MOTHA) within the New Museum. This iteration of MOTHA explores Stonewall as a geographically, demographically, and historically contested site. Rather than construct a singular, revised story, the overall project contends that attempting to narrate a stable history does the past a disservice. This workshop explores how students and teachers might find inspiration in MOTHA’s attempt to uncover, recast, and recuperate elements of the past through intergenerational proposals for marking history and public space. Together, we will develop methods for considering both broad and hyperlocal narratives of memory within public space, as well as their continued relevance in the present.
9:30 AM: Registration
10 AM–12 PM: Tour and discussion of “Chris E. Vargas and MOTHA: Consciousness Razing: The Stonewall RE-Memorialization Project”
Collectively, educators will discuss what they know and what they want to know about the history of Stonewall, considering the event’s resonance with ongoing strides and struggles for social justice today. What creative, social, and political possibilities are created by remembering, imagining, questioning, and reinterpreting an event or site through public art? We will consider these questions through an interactive tour of the exhibition with New Museum education staff, exploring an intergenerational group of twelve artists’ proposals to reimagine monuments to the Stonewall Riots within Christopher Park.
1–3 PM: Workshop with Educator-in-Residence for Art and Social Justice, Tiffany Jones
In the afternoon session, participants will engage in a guided lesson considering collective and public memory and create proposals for a monument relevant to their understandings of history and public space. The presentation and activity will be facilitated by New Museum Educator-in-Residence, Tiffany L. Jones.
The New Museum welcomes educators of all disciplines. Reservations are honored on a first-come, first-served basis. Workshop space is limited.