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Monument Lab




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Episode 08 - Chrissie Castro: Organizer Who Collaboratively Helped to Takedown LA’s Columbus Statue and Create the City’s First Official Indigenous Peoples Day

On November 10, 2018, a statue of Christopher Columbus was taken down in LA’s grant park. City officials and members of LA’s Native American Indian Commission were present to watch. Hundreds gathered to witness the takedown. Chrissie Castro, vice chair of the commission, was there. “After, decades of demonstration and protests, and dialogue," shares Castro, "it was very emotional when the statue finally came down. You know, we had singers. Folks were clapping and yelling. And it was just a...


Episode 07 - Brentin Mock: CityLab Journalist, On Voting Rights, the New White Flight, and the Cityhood Movement

Brentin Mock, staff writer for City Lab, reports on the role of justice and civil rights in the laws and policies that govern our lives, particularly in the urban environment. He has a long history of reporting on environmental justice and voting rights, and voter suppression. Monument Lab speaks to Mock about his recent piece for CityLab “The Strangest Form of White Flight,” a part of a larger series on the Cityhood movement in Georgia, which Mock describes as a Brexit-style secession to...


Episode 06 - Stephanie Syjuco: Artist Who Stitches Together History and Investigates Empire

Stephanie Syjuco is an artist and professor from UC Berkeley. Syjuco is one of the four artists featured in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational opening this week across the street from the White House. She works on monuments by scaling them to handheld objects, newly imagined commodities, and tools for protest.


Episode 05 - Michelle Angela Ortiz: Artist Who Reimagines State Capitol Steps as Canvas to End Family Detention

Michelle Angela Ortiz, visual artist and muralist, has collaborated with mothers and their families at Berks, an immigrant family prison, several hours away from her hometown of Philadelphia. Ortiz has worked to bring the stories of these detained mothers and their families to prominent public spaces where powerbrokers may connect with stories of these mothers in new ways – including last year at Philadelphia's City Hall as a part of the Monument Lab 2017 exhibition. This week, Ortiz...


Episode 04 - Museum of Capitalism: Memory Speculators and Dealbreakers

The Museum of Capitalism was co-founded by Timothy Furstanau and Andrea Steves of FICTILIS, a curatorial collective who the New Yorker has described as constructing “exhibitions and interventions animated by a playful interrogation of social institutions.” FICTILIS opened the first iteration of their Museum in a decade-old retail space that had never been occupied in Oakland’s Jack London district, garnering thousands of visitors and international attention. Currently, the Museum is open...


Episode 03 - Paper Monuments: Designing for Justice in New Orleans

Paper Monuments from New Orleans — led by Bryan C. Lee Jr. and Sue Mobley – grew out of the takedown of four Confederate monuments in the city last year. Rather than look to replace the toppled figures and move on, Paper Monuments has gathered hundreds of under-told stories about the city’s history on posters designed by artists and storytellers, and wheat pasted them across New Orleans. They have been tapped by the city of New Orleans to help re-imagine public spaces around empty...


Episode 02 - Kirk Savage: Art Historian of Monuments and Civil War Memory

Professor and Art Historian Kirk Savage is one of the nation’s foremost experts on monuments and memorials. Savage is the author of several books including Monument Wars and Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America, which was recently reprinted in an updated edition from Princeton University Press. Savage’s landmark book reveals how African American soldiers were largely left off public monuments after the Civil War, in favor of sites...


Episode 01 - Hank Willis Thomas: Artist and Organizer of For Freedoms Across 50 States

Artist Hank Willis Thomas is a leading thinker on monuments and one of the co-founders of For Freedoms, the largest public art campaign in the history of the United States. Willis Thomas worked with Monument Lab last year in Philadelphia on the prototype monument All Power to All People, a monumental-sized afro pick installed across from City Hall. He also produced Raise Up on the grounds of the National Peace and Justice Memorial in Birmingham. A new survey of his work, Hank Willis...


Episode 00 - Welcome to the Monument Lab podcast

Welcome to Monument Lab: A public art and history podcast. Each episode, we will be talking to artists, activists, and historians about the monuments we have inherited from the past and the people and movements who are critically engaging them now. These are the people building the next generation of monuments through stories of social justice and solidarity.