Monuments and Memory

April 17, 2019 (Wednesday) / 5:00 pm6:30 pm

Widener Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street

Monuments and Memory

David Brownlee

Frances Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor of 19th-Century European Art, University of Pennsylvania

Ken Lum

Artist and Professor of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania
Chief Curatorial Advisor, Monument Lab

The role of monuments and their representation of the past as it extends to the present has recently become a site of discussion, engagement, and conflict. Now that Philadelphia has become the first UNESCO World Heritage city, the meaning of monuments—to make, reflect, frame, and hide our city, its history, and its diversity—has become all the more important. How might we reimagine the monument to be more inclusive, more representative, and more meaningful to us all?

David Brownlee is a historian of modern architecture whose interests embrace a wide range of subjects in Europe and America, from the late eighteenth century to the present. Professor Brownlee has won numerous fellowships, and his work has earned three major publication prizes from the Society of Architectural Historians. He is a recipient of the University of Pennsylvania's Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

His books include Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture (with David G. De Long,1991, translated into four other languages), Making a Modern Classic: The Architecture of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1997), Building America's First University: An Historical and Architectural Guide to the University of Pennsylvania (with George Thomas, 2000), Out of the Ordinary: Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates: Architecture, Urbanism, Design (with David De Long and Kathryn Hiesinger, 2001), and The Barnes Foundation: Two Buildings, One Mission (2012).

Ken Lum is a Professor in the School of Design, the University of Pennsylvania. Lum is co-founder and founding editor of Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. He has published extensively; and recently completed an artists’ book project with philosopher Hubert Damisch that was launched with Three Star Press, Paris. He was Project Manager for Okwui Enwezor’s The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa 1945 – 1994 (2001). He was also co-curator of the 7th Sharjah Biennial (2005), and Shanghai Modern: 1919 – 1945 (2005). Lum has exhibited widely, including São Paulo Biennial (1998), Shanghai Biennale (2000), Documenta 11 (2002), the Istanbul Biennial (2007), and the Gwangju Biennale (2008), Moscow Biennial 2011 and the Whitney Biennial 2014.  He has published many essays on art. He has also realized permanent public art commissions for the cities of Vienna, Vancouver, Utrecht, Leiden, St. Moritz, Toronto and St Louis.

Most recently, Lum co-curated Monument Lab, a public art and history initiative based in Philadelphia that invited artists and citizens to re-imagine what an appropriate monument looks like in today’s world. Along with artists, scholars, and students, Lum posed research questions and built prototype monuments in public spaces. Monument Lab produced citywide exhibitions, collaborative installations, scholarly publications, video projects, as well as publicly-sourced creative open datasets. Lum helped contextualize the project through vairous conversations with artists and the public, by sharing his expertise of the art world as both an artist and an educator.