History of Art and Architecture

Monument Lab Today and Toward 2026

Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Presenter: Kirk Savage
202 Frick Fine Arts Building

From its modest beginnings as a passion project in Philadelphia, Monument Lab has emerged as the leading organizational voice in the U.S. working to change the commemorative landscape we have inherited. With the infusion of millions of dollars from the Mellon Foundation and other funders, ML has published a National Monument Audit, consulted with universities and local governments across the country, curated innovative exhibitions and projects, carried out participatory research in diverse communities, and sponsored activist-led memorial projects from Los Angeles to Navajo Nation to Puerto Rico. This informal talk will examine the achievements and challenges of ML as it works to build out a new commemorative field in the midst of political polarization and an emerging backlash against diversity. 2026, the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, looms as a key marker of the risks and potential that lie ahead.

Kirk Savage is on the Board of Directors of Monument Lab and is serving as an advisor to ML’s upcoming exhibition Pulling Together, which features six artists of color designing installations on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.