For this exhibition, Ralph Rugoff invited over 50 international artists to devise proposals for a monument for the United States of America. Freed from contextual, budgetary, or practical constraints, the proposals reflect each artist’s ideas about the type of monument the people of the United States currently need or deserve.
Their proposals may address particular values or ideals, group or individual histories, institutions or places. The nature of these hypothetical monuments, meanwhile, may be material or immaterial, permanent or ephemeral, practical or whimsical.
Speaking about the genesis of the exhibition Rugoff has stated: “I began planning this show last summer, largely in response to my distress over the political situation in the USA. It seemed to me that the United States has fundamentally changed, and that proposals for monuments would be an interesting way for artists to address the country’s remodeled profile, along with the current direction, character and behavior of the citizens of what is arguably the world’s oldest continuing democratic state. I was definitely not interested in narrow ideas of political art, however, such as works that would protest against specific events, like the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Instead, this project asked for proposals that could illuminate the broader, and contradictory, social landscape of the contemporary United States.”
Taking the form of drawings, diagrams, maquettes, photo collages, written descriptions, wall paintings, sculptural models, or other media, the proposals will occupy all of the gallery spaces at White Columns. A full color, 160 page catalog (distributed by DAP) accompanies the exhibition.