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Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

Monument Lab 2017: 20 must-see art installations in Philly

Find dozens of temporary monuments on display in Philly’s parks and neighborhoods

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Monument Lab has come to Philly. The public art exhibition that takes place all over the city asks the question, “What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia?”

It’s an impeccably timed question that’s answered by dozens of artists, from both Philly and all over world, in the form of sculptures, performances, and interactive art installations that can be found in Philly’s parks and neighborhoods from September 13 through November 15.

Here are all of the must-see art installations listed in order from North to South. For a full calendar of events, visit the Mural Arts’s Monument Lab website.

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1. Vernon Park

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5800 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19144

Karyn Olivier’s soaring “The Battle Is Joined” monument is actually the original Battle of Germantown Memorial, just covered in acrylic mirror material. The 20-foot structure is an ode to the American Revolutionary War battle, but Olivier’s take encourages visitors to be closer to their surroundings and history.

Also on display at Vernon Park is Jamel Shabazz’s “Love Is the Message,” a gallery wall that displays portraits of portraits of veterans and local residents. (From now until Veterans Day, keep an eye out for pop-up photo sessions where Shabazz will take free printed portraits.)

Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

2. East Indiana Avenue

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E Indiana Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19134

At the corner of East Indiana Avenue and A Street in Kensington, there is an old factory that’s now covered in colorful clocks. It’s a special monument project by artist Tyree Guyton of Detroit’s iconic Heidelberg Project. Painted by Guyton, local residents, and visitors from Detroit, the art installation highlights the importance of our times.

Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

3. Norris Square

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Norris Square
Philadelphia, PA

David Hartt’s “for everyone a garden VIII” at Norris Square is the result of a one-year partnership with the Norris Square Neighborhood Project (NSNP), an organization that provides green space and youth education to local residents. With the help of a youth film crew, Hartt created a film that highlights how Norris Square might like in 50 to 100 years as a forested landscape.

A post shared by David Hartt (@david_hartt) on

4. Penn Treaty Park

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1301 N Beach St
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Artist Duane Linklater is an Omaskêko Ininiwak from Moose Cree First Nation. His neon monument at Penn Treaty Park is an ode to Lenni Lenape Chief Tamanend and reads the words, “as long as the rivers and creeks flow, and the sun, moon, and stars shine.” This phrase was, according to historical accounts, meant to signify how long William Penn and Chief Tamanend’s treaty of friendship would last.

Also on display is another monument by RAIR (Recycled Artist in Residency). Plainsight Is 20/20 features an excavator holding a large tree and serves as a metaphor of Philly’s dedication to creating a more sustainable city amid its current building boom.

Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

5. Lancaster Avenue Project

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4200 Lancaster Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19104

At Lancaster Avenue, Brown Street, and North 42nd Street in West Philly, there’s a vacant, triangular lot. Artist Hans Haacke will spend the next few months excavating the site, attempting to unearth a monument “that already exists beneath the surface.”

via Google Streetview

6. Logan Square

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Logan Square
Philadelphia, PA

In one of the city’s original squares, Emeka Ogboh’s Logan Squared: Ode to Philly monument is on display as a series of listening stations. Plug in your own earphones to listen to Ogboh’s poem, which features a snippets of Philly voices. Another sound station is also set up across the Parkway on the Skyline Terrace at the Free Library.

Emeka Ogboh’s poem can be listened to on the Skyline Terrace (shown here) or below at Logan Square.
Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

7. Franklin Square

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200 N 6th St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 629-4026

A giant boombox is currently set up in Franklin Square as a monument to Philly’s rich music scene. Artist Kara Crombie created this outdoor music studio that allows you to create your own tune from a selection of musical samples from Philly artists.

Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

8. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

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118-128 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

PAFA serves as Monument Lab’s central exhibition hub, and the site of Tania Bruguera’s Monument to New Immigrants. The so-called incomplete statue is of a young immigrant to Philadelphia and represents the idea that “no matter how old a person is, they need to start over,” according to Bruguera.

A post shared by Monument Lab (@monument_lab) on

9. Thomas Paine Plaza

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1401 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19102

The Frank Rizzo Monument has a new neighbor at Thomas Paine Plaza: Hank Willis Thomas’s “All Power to All People” immediately drew attention when it was installed on Tuesday, September 12 just steps from the divisive Rizzo statue. Thomas’ monument is an 800-pound(!) Afro pick that, in the artist’s words, aims “to highlight ideas related to community, strength, perseverance, comradeship, and resistance to oppression.”

 

Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

10. Malcolm X Park

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5100 Pine St
Philadelphia, PA 19143

If you can only make it to Malcolm X Park in West Philly one day, make it Saturday, October 14. That’s when artists DJ King Britt and Joshua Mays will have their one-night-only performance of “Mays, Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny.” The artists describe it as a “monumental time portal” that features sounds collected from the neighborhood by local youth, light, and vinyl panels with Mays’ graphic artwork.

11. Philadelphia City Hall

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1401 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Mel Chin’s monument is, well, anyone who wants to stand on top of the two podiums placed in the center of the courtyard. The seven-foot-tall pedestals, which mimic John Wanamaker’s Citizen statue on the west side of City Hall, have the word “Me” written across and are considered living monuments that anyone can stand upon.

If you visit on Wednesday or Friday evenings from 8 to 10 p.m., Michelle Angela Ortiz’s Seguimos Caminando (We Keep Walking) will be projected onto the gates of City Hall highlighting mothers previously or currently detained at Berks Detention Center, a prison outside of Philly for immigrant families.

12. Rittenhouse Square

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Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA

Did you know that Philly is only home to two monuments dedicated to women? This underrepresentation is in the inspiration of artist Sharon Hayes’s monument “If They Should Ask” in Rittenhouse Square.

Artist Alexander Rosenburg’s “The Built/Unbuilt Square” is also on display at Rittenhouse Square. If you look into one of the two viewfinders installed at the park, you’ll be able to see the park layered with historic images of old gatherings and proposed structures for the square that were never built.

Sharon Hayes’ monument “If They Should Ask” highlights the lack of monuments in Philly dedicated to women.
Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

13. Washington Square

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210 W Washington Square
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 597-8787

To create “On the Threshold (Salvaged Stoops, Philadelphia),” Kaitlin Pomerantz spent months salvaging materials from recently demolished buildings throughout Philly. The final monument in Washington Square is an ode to Philly’s stoop culture, made from the historic building materials.

This park is also the starting point for Marisa Williamson’s “Sweet Chariot: The Long Journey to Freedom Through Time,” an interactive video scavenger hunt that uncovers a series hidden moments in the landscape of historic Philadelphia, focusing on the African-American struggle for freedom.

Kaitlin Pomerantz collected hundreds of materials from demolished buildings for her monument.
Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

14. Marconi Plaza

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(267) 945-8779

Shira Walinsky and Southeast by Southeast have created an interactive news kiosk that features the stories of immigrant and refugee artists in Philly. There will be materials like recipe cards that you’ll be able to take, too.

If you only have one day to visit, make it Saturday, October 28. Walinsky’s monument will still be on display, and Klip Collective will also bring a one-night-only installation to Marconi Plaza. Like Walinsky’s monument, this will be an immersive installation created as an ode to South Philly’s immigrants.

1. Vernon Park

5800 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19144
Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

Karyn Olivier’s soaring “The Battle Is Joined” monument is actually the original Battle of Germantown Memorial, just covered in acrylic mirror material. The 20-foot structure is an ode to the American Revolutionary War battle, but Olivier’s take encourages visitors to be closer to their surroundings and history.

Also on display at Vernon Park is Jamel Shabazz’s “Love Is the Message,” a gallery wall that displays portraits of portraits of veterans and local residents. (From now until Veterans Day, keep an eye out for pop-up photo sessions where Shabazz will take free printed portraits.)

5800 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19144

2. East Indiana Avenue

E Indiana Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19134
Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

At the corner of East Indiana Avenue and A Street in Kensington, there is an old factory that’s now covered in colorful clocks. It’s a special monument project by artist Tyree Guyton of Detroit’s iconic Heidelberg Project. Painted by Guyton, local residents, and visitors from Detroit, the art installation highlights the importance of our times.

E Indiana Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19134

3. Norris Square

Norris Square, Philadelphia, PA

David Hartt’s “for everyone a garden VIII” at Norris Square is the result of a one-year partnership with the Norris Square Neighborhood Project (NSNP), an organization that provides green space and youth education to local residents. With the help of a youth film crew, Hartt created a film that highlights how Norris Square might like in 50 to 100 years as a forested landscape.

Norris Square
Philadelphia, PA

4. Penn Treaty Park

1301 N Beach St, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

Artist Duane Linklater is an Omaskêko Ininiwak from Moose Cree First Nation. His neon monument at Penn Treaty Park is an ode to Lenni Lenape Chief Tamanend and reads the words, “as long as the rivers and creeks flow, and the sun, moon, and stars shine.” This phrase was, according to historical accounts, meant to signify how long William Penn and Chief Tamanend’s treaty of friendship would last.

Also on display is another monument by RAIR (Recycled Artist in Residency). Plainsight Is 20/20 features an excavator holding a large tree and serves as a metaphor of Philly’s dedication to creating a more sustainable city amid its current building boom.

1301 N Beach St
Philadelphia, PA 19125

5. Lancaster Avenue Project

4200 Lancaster Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104
via Google Streetview

At Lancaster Avenue, Brown Street, and North 42nd Street in West Philly, there’s a vacant, triangular lot. Artist Hans Haacke will spend the next few months excavating the site, attempting to unearth a monument “that already exists beneath the surface.”

4200 Lancaster Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19104

6. Logan Square

Logan Square, Philadelphia, PA
Emeka Ogboh’s poem can be listened to on the Skyline Terrace (shown here) or below at Logan Square.
Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

In one of the city’s original squares, Emeka Ogboh’s Logan Squared: Ode to Philly monument is on display as a series of listening stations. Plug in your own earphones to listen to Ogboh’s poem, which features a snippets of Philly voices. Another sound station is also set up across the Parkway on the Skyline Terrace at the Free Library.

Logan Square
Philadelphia, PA

7. Franklin Square

200 N 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

A giant boombox is currently set up in Franklin Square as a monument to Philly’s rich music scene. Artist Kara Crombie created this outdoor music studio that allows you to create your own tune from a selection of musical samples from Philly artists.

200 N 6th St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

8. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

118-128 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

PAFA serves as Monument Lab’s central exhibition hub, and the site of Tania Bruguera’s Monument to New Immigrants. The so-called incomplete statue is of a young immigrant to Philadelphia and represents the idea that “no matter how old a person is, they need to start over,” according to Bruguera.

118-128 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

9. Thomas Paine Plaza

1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

The Frank Rizzo Monument has a new neighbor at Thomas Paine Plaza: Hank Willis Thomas’s “All Power to All People” immediately drew attention when it was installed on Tuesday, September 12 just steps from the divisive Rizzo statue. Thomas’ monument is an 800-pound(!) Afro pick that, in the artist’s words, aims “to highlight ideas related to community, strength, perseverance, comradeship, and resistance to oppression.”

 

1401 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19102

10. Malcolm X Park

5100 Pine St, Philadelphia, PA 19143

If you can only make it to Malcolm X Park in West Philly one day, make it Saturday, October 14. That’s when artists DJ King Britt and Joshua Mays will have their one-night-only performance of “Mays, Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny.” The artists describe it as a “monumental time portal” that features sounds collected from the neighborhood by local youth, light, and vinyl panels with Mays’ graphic artwork.

5100 Pine St
Philadelphia, PA 19143

11. Philadelphia City Hall

1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Mel Chin’s monument is, well, anyone who wants to stand on top of the two podiums placed in the center of the courtyard. The seven-foot-tall pedestals, which mimic John Wanamaker’s Citizen statue on the west side of City Hall, have the word “Me” written across and are considered living monuments that anyone can stand upon.

If you visit on Wednesday or Friday evenings from 8 to 10 p.m., Michelle Angela Ortiz’s Seguimos Caminando (We Keep Walking) will be projected onto the gates of City Hall highlighting mothers previously or currently detained at Berks Detention Center, a prison outside of Philly for immigrant families.

1401 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19102

12. Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA
Sharon Hayes’ monument “If They Should Ask” highlights the lack of monuments in Philly dedicated to women.
Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

Did you know that Philly is only home to two monuments dedicated to women? This underrepresentation is in the inspiration of artist Sharon Hayes’s monument “If They Should Ask” in Rittenhouse Square.

Artist Alexander Rosenburg’s “The Built/Unbuilt Square” is also on display at Rittenhouse Square. If you look into one of the two viewfinders installed at the park, you’ll be able to see the park layered with historic images of old gatherings and proposed structures for the square that were never built.

Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA

13. Washington Square

210 W Washington Square, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Kaitlin Pomerantz collected hundreds of materials from demolished buildings for her monument.
Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts

To create “On the Threshold (Salvaged Stoops, Philadelphia),” Kaitlin Pomerantz spent months salvaging materials from recently demolished buildings throughout Philly. The final monument in Washington Square is an ode to Philly’s stoop culture, made from the historic building materials.

This park is also the starting point for Marisa Williamson’s “Sweet Chariot: The Long Journey to Freedom Through Time,” an interactive video scavenger hunt that uncovers a series hidden moments in the landscape of historic Philadelphia, focusing on the African-American struggle for freedom.

210 W Washington Square
Philadelphia, PA 19106

14. Marconi Plaza

Philadelphia, PA 19148

Shira Walinsky and Southeast by Southeast have created an interactive news kiosk that features the stories of immigrant and refugee artists in Philly. There will be materials like recipe cards that you’ll be able to take, too.

If you only have one day to visit, make it Saturday, October 28. Walinsky’s monument will still be on display, and Klip Collective will also bring a one-night-only installation to Marconi Plaza. Like Walinsky’s monument, this will be an immersive installation created as an ode to South Philly’s immigrants.