Thursday 01/16/20 7PM
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Conversations · Exhibition-Related

The Plinth and Monumentality

Cover Image:

“Hans Haacke: All Connected,” 2019. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. © Hans Haacke / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni

A livestream of the conversation will be available here.

Taking cues from Hans Haacke’s sculpture Gift Horse (2014), the panel The Plinth and Monumentality will bring together artist Paul Ramírez Jonas; Kendal Henry, Director of Percent for Art at the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; and J. Meejin Yoon, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University, to consider the forms and functions of monuments and memorials today. The conversation will be moderated by Andrew An Westover, Keith Haring Director of Education and Public Engagement at the New Museum. Several of Haacke’s works, including Gift Horse, DER BEVÖLKERUNG [TO THE POPULATION] (2000–ongoing), and his 1993 Venice Biennale pavilion project, Germania, engage particular modes of monumentality and reflect on the creation and maintenance of national identity. In light of recent projects that reimagine the plinth and monumental art as sites for historical narratives of triumph or loss, this evening’s conversation will focus on future possibilities for public art.

Beyond decisions about which monuments stay up and which come down, this panel will consider what questions should be asked when designing a monument. In a time when commemorative monuments face heightened scrutiny, how might architects and artists consider liberatory, performative, or ephemeral modes of monument-making? What civic structures can best support new visions for public commemoration? How might a diverse public be ethically and productively engaged in these considerations?

Kendal Henry is the Director of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program. An artist and curator, he has specialized in the field of public art for nearly thirty years. In addition to his service to the city, he is adjunct professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Paul Ramírez Jonas has sought to challenge the definitions of art and the public and to engineer active audience participation and exchange for the past twenty-five years. His work is presented in galleries, institutions, and urban spaces around the world. He has been an associate professor at Hunter College since 2007, and is represented by Galeria Nara Roesler in São Paulo and New York.

J. Meejin Yoon is an architect, designer, and educator. She is the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. Previously Yoon was at MIT for seventeen years, where she served as the head of the Department of Architecture from 2014–18. Yoon is also cofounding principal of Höweler and Yoon Architecture, whose current projects include the Memorial for Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia, the Coolidge Corner Theater expansion, and the MIT Museum.


Support for Education and Public Engagement programs is provided, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Support for “Hans Haacke: All Connected” can be viewed here.

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