Mural Arts Philadelphia announces artists, locations for 2017 Monument Lab exhibition

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Artists Zoe Strauss (left), Ai Weiwei (center), and Tyree Guyton (right) are three of 22 artists participating in this year's Monument Lab, organized by Mural Arts Philadelphia and curators Paul Farber, Ken Lum, and A. Will Brown.

This year’s Monument Lab art exhibition will feature temporary works of art from nearly two dozen artists displayed in 10 locations throughout the city, Mural Arts Philadelphia announced Wednesday.

The citywide public art project will run from Sept. 16 to Nov. 19, with works on display in five William Penn Center City squares and five neighborhood parks, along a home-base at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. 2017 marks the first year for the expanded Monument Lab, which launched in City Hall’s courtyard in 2015.

This year’s exhibition asks participating artists to answer the question “What makes a monument in the 21st Century?” through nonpermanent art installations of their own design. Topics for installations range from immigration and opioid addiction to indigenous history and gentrification. Mural Arts Philadelphia will announce the complete list of projects in the spring.

The nine-week exhibition will feature work from 22 notable local and international artists, including Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, Philadelphia photographer Zoe Strauss, and Detroit painter/sculptor Tyree Guyton. Others include Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera, Philly video outfit Klip Collective, Berlin sound artist Emeka Ogboh, and Ontario installation artist Duane Linklater.

Public art fans can find those artists’ work, as well as the work of a roster of other artists, at 10 locations throughout Philadelphia: City Hall, Franklin Square, Washington Square, Logan Circle, Rittenhouse Square, Penn Treaty Park, Vernon Park, Norris Square Park, Malcolm X Park, and Marconi Plaza. There also will be a Monument Lab exhibition space at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

The installations will include interactive pop-up “laboratories,” which Mural Arts Philadelphia says it hopes will foster conversation and research around art and the topics the exhibitions address. Staff will be on hand at all locations to collect proposals from exhibition-goers for future Philadelphia monuments — an element of the 2015 Monument Lab that prompted more than 400 submissions, according to the Philadelphia Center for Architecture.

In addition to the pop-ups, each exhibition site will host weekend events. Panels, tours, parties, and talks are to be scheduled throughout the week.

“Our curators have assembled an inspiring list of artists to come to Philadelphia and express a wide range of visions that reflect on our city’s history and imagine our future,” said Jane Golden, executive director of Mural Arts Philadelphia, in a release. “Mural Arts is excited to bring this work to the public and engage everyone in discussing critical issues facing our city today.”

Monument Lab is organized by Mural Arts Philadelphia and curators Paul Farber, Ken Lum, and A. Will Brown. The full list of participating artists for 2017 is below:

  • Tania Bruguera, Havana, Cuba/New York/Cambridge
  • Mel Chin, Egypt, North Carolina
  • Kara Crombie, Philadelphia
  • Tyree Guyton, Detroit
  • Hans Haacke, New York 
  • David Hartt, Philadelphia
  • Sharon Hayes, Philadelphia
  • King Britt and Joshua Mays, Philadelphia and Oakland, Calif.
  • Klip Collective, Philadelphia
  • Duane Linklater, North Bay, Ontario
  • Emeka Ogboh, Lagos/Berlin
  • Karyn Olivier, Philadelphia
  • Michelle Angela Ortiz, Philadelphia
  • Kaitlin Pomerantz, Philadelphia
  • RAIR featuring Abigail DeVille, Philadelphia and New York 
  • Alexander Rosenberg, Philadelphia
  • Jamel Shabazz, New York 
  • Zoe Strauss, Philadelphia
  • Hank Willis Thomas, New York 
  • Shira Walinsky and Southeast by Southeast, Philadelphia
  • Ai Weiwei, Berlin/Beijing
  • Marisa Williamson, New York