MONUMENTS NOW is a three-part outdoor exhibition hosted by the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, New York. It aims to shed light on the role of public monuments in the United States while raising awareness for underrepresented narratives and histories. New York-based artist Nona Faustine’s billboard, In Praise of Famous Men No More, will be the presentation’s inaugural work.
The billboard is a diptych of photographs that includes a depiction of the controversial Theodore Roosevelt monument that was recently removed from the Natural History Museum in NYC and an image of the Lincoln Memorial in the nation’s capital. The billboard is set to be unveiled at the park this July 10. The work comes at crucial times as the Black Lives Matter demonstrations are happening, sparking debates of getting rid of statues with racist and imperialist histories, such as the statues of Roosevelt, Confederate generals, and Christopher Columbus, that have been recently defaced and removed with protestors calling out the monuments tie to colonialism, slavery, and oppression.
Another work that will be installed at the exhibition is Jeffrey Gibson’s Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House, a massive technicolor ziggurat that pays homage to Queer and Indigenous peoples, featuring vivid motifs of Queer camp and pre-Columbian architecture. It is meant as a “platform for voices from individuals and communities outside of the mainstream to project themselves and their own narratives on to,” as explained by Gibson.
Artists Paul Ramírez Jonas and Xaviera Simmons are also presenting their commissions as part of the outdoor exhibition’s first installment. Visit Socrates Sculpture Park’s official website to learn more.