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Monumentality without Monuments

Event Information


South College E245, 150 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003

Date & Time

Oct 28, 2022 | 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm

Contact Name

Cat Dawson


Cat Dawson

Monuments telegraph ideological values through formal characteristics like impermeable materials, larger-than-life scale, and public placement that reinforce those principles. While the form has tended historically to be deployed to dominant cultural ends, a number of monumental sculptures in recent decades have instead reinscribed narratives long excluded from the memorial landscape in formal terms that challenge our understanding of what, precisely, a monument is. 

In "Monumentality Without Monuments: Haunting Transmissions from the Memorial Margins," Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow Cat Dawson proposes yet another way to conceive of the monumental that accounts for projects that do not answer to the formal terms of the monument, but which nevertheless perform a similar kind of cultural labor. Through a close reading of materially ephemeral projects by indigenous, queer, feminist, and trans artists including Félix González-Torres, Courtney M. Leonard, Sebastián Hernandez, and Res, this talk argues that a truly decolonial/anti-imperial discussions of the memorial landscape, and the various juridical, political, and identiarian questions that it raises, must be able to account for artworks that perform the rhetorical labor of monumentality beyond the monumental form.

You can attend in person or register to join on Zoom.