January 31, 2005 - CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts - Monuments for the USA
January 31, 2005

Monuments for the USA

Elmgreen & Dragset, ‘Monument to Short Term Memory‘, 2004 Color inkjet print. Courtesy the artists   

Monuments for the USA
April 7-May 14

Opening reception: April 6, 7-8.30 p.m.

CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts Logan Galleries
1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco
415.551.9211 www.wattis.org

Curated by Ralph Rugoff

For this exhibition over 50 international artists have been invited 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, and institutions or places. The nature of these hypothetical monuments, meanwhile, may be material or immaterial, permanent or ephemeral, practical or whimsical.

By turns political, satirical, humorous, idealistic and prosaic, these proposals reevaluate and redefine our notions of what monuments can be, and what role they can play in our civic and imaginative life. They range from a Monument to Short Term Memory (Elmgreen & Dragset) and a Monument to Small Change (Michael Ross), to a proposal that calls for huge loudspeakers to be placed on a mountain in Afghanistan and in a U.S. metropolis, accompanied by microphones allowing reciprocal swearing to be exchanged between citizens of the two countries (Xu Zhen). Striking a more hopeful note, one proposal calls for two sculptures of giant ears to be erected facing outward on either coast, as if to encourage the United States to listen more carefully to the rest of the world (Aleksandra Mir), while another calls for creating an interactive center, The Road-Side Giant-Book Project (Thomas Hirschhorn), that aims to affirm that philosophy and art can successfully engage the general public’s thinking and imagination.

Taking the form of drawings, diagrams, maquettes, photocollages, written descriptions, wall paintings, sculptural models or other media, the proposals will be displayed in an exhibition in the CCA Wattis Institute’s Logan Galleries. They will also be reproduced, along with text by the artists, in a fully illustrated publication that will document the project and that will also be distributed as a kind of mail-order catalog in the hope that some of the monuments will eventually be commissioned and realized with the help of appropriate funding sources.

Artists include Allora & Calzadilla, Edgar Arcenaux, Artemio, Robert Beck, Michel Blazy, Monica Bonvicini, Andrea Bowers, Fernando Bryce, Los Carpinteros, Adam Chodzko, Martin Creed, Enrico David, Jeremy Deller, Jessica Diamond, Sam Durant, Shannon Ebner, Elmgreen & Dragset, Meschac Gaba, Anya Gallacio, Susan Hiller, Thomas Hirschhorn, Chris Johanson, Michael Joo, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Brad Kahlhammer, Barbara Kruger, Gabriel Kuri, Ken Lum, Josiah McElheny, Aleksandra Mir, Mike Nelson, Paul Noble, Yoshua Okon, Jennifer Pastor, Kiersten Pieroth, Paola Pivi, Marjetica Potrc, Tobias Putrih, Qiu Zhijie, Rigo 05, Matthew Ronay, Michael Ross, Santiago Sierra, Gary Simmons, Yutaka Sone, Michael Stevenson, Do-Ho Suh, Shirley Tse, Jeffrey Vallance, Mark Wallinger, Xu Zhen and Zhang Huan.

A fully illustrated, full-color exhibition publication with texts by Ralph Rugoff and participating artists will be available from the CCA Wattis Institute (415.551.9202).

For further information on the CCA Wattis Institute please visit www.wattis.org.
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
Logan Galleries
1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco
415.551.9210
Gallery hours:
Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; closed Sunday, Monday.

Established in 1998, the CCA Wattis Institute serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of leading-edge local, national and international contemporary culture.

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