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New York

Nina Katchadourian

Monument to the Unelected

On View
Sep 18–Dec 12, 2020

At the moment when the country is deeply preoccupied with a major national election, Nina Katchadourian's Monument to the Unelected presents a view and a reminder of the country's collective political road not taken.

Monument to the Unelected has been exhibited during every presidential election cycle since 2008—both on public sites as well as in museums and galleries— and always spanning the time both before and after the election. This year, after the election results have been determined, the 59th loser’s sign will be added to the group.

Exhibition Details

Nina Katchadourian
Monument to the Unelected
Sep 18 – Dec 12, 2020

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Gallery

540 West 25th Street
New York

Above: Installation view, Nina Katchadourian: Monument to the Unelected, Sep 18 – Dec 12, 2020, Pace Gallery, New York © Nina Katchadourian
Events

Monument to the Unelected

Nina Katchadourian has invited eight first-time voters, one at each location where the work is being exhibited, to add the 59th sign to the installation.

Saturday, Nov 14, 2020
4 PM EST
Zoom Webinar

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Monument to the Unelected (2008–ongoing) features a set of lawn signs created by the artist featuring the names of every candidate who ran for President of the United States and lost. These campaign signs are installed throughout the south wall of the expansive library at our 540 West 25th Street space, among some 10,000 art historical volumes and a vast repository of archival materials and catalogues produced over the gallery’s six-decade history.

Concurrent with the presentation at our gallery and at Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, CA, Nina Katchadourian's Monument to the Unelected is also being exhibited in public spaces in collaboration with six other venues: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ; Grand Central Art Center, Orange, CA; The Transformer Station, Cleveland, OH; moCa Cleveland, Cleveland, OH; Roots Community Health Center in Oakland, CA; and on the lawn of a private residence at 2012 Wauwona Road, Madison, WI, supported by the Abrahamson Family Trust.

Monument to the Unelected was originally commissioned by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in 2008 for the museum’s 10th anniversary exhibition. Katchadourian visited Scottsdale and Phoenix during the run-up to the 2008 presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain. The artist was struck by the proliferation of campaign signs that sprouted up on lawns, in vacant lots, and at busy intersections in what has historically been a swing state. “The signs struck me as a particularly American phenomenon, and one that was worthy of closer investigation,” Katchadourian said. “After an election, many of the losing candidates’ names become completely unfamiliar to us. An election sign always carries with it a political opinion, but paradoxically, Monument to the Unelected lets us consider us our collective political road not taken from a peculiarly non-partisan viewpoint.”

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Installation view, Nina Katchadourian: Monument to the Unelected, Sep 18 – Dec 12, 2020, Pace Gallery, New York © Nina Katchadourian

The signs are printed on corrugated plastic sheets using the same commercial production methods as common election signage. Working with New York-based graphic designer Evan Gaffney, all the signs are designed in a contemporary design vernacular, many of them borrowing directly from the designs that Katchadourian encountered in Scottsdale. Though the project spans centuries of presidential races, each sign looks modern, as if it could have been made in the past few decades.

Monument to the Unelected has been exhibited during every presidential cycle since 2008—both on public sites as well as in museums and galleries. In 2012, when Mitt Romney lost to incumbent Barack Obama, the artist exhibited Monument to the Unelected in Connecticut, Washington DC, and Brooklyn. In 2016, she displayed the installation outside the historic Lefferts House in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, adding a sign after Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump. Now, incumbent Donald Trump faces off against Joe Biden, and once this year’s election results have been determined, the 59th loser’s sign will be added to the group.

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Nina Katchadourian

Nina Katchadourian is an interdisciplinary artist whose work includes video, performance, sound, sculpture, photography, and public projects. Her video Accent Elimination was included in the 2015 Venice Biennale as part of the Armenian pavilion, which won the Golden Lion for Best National Participation. Exhibitions have included shows at the Serpentine Gallery, Turner Contemporary, de Appel, Palais de Tokyo, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Turku Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, ICA Philadelphia, Brooklyn Museum, Artists Space, SculptureCenter, MoMA, and MoMA PS1. Katchadourian has been widely published nationally and internationally, including a monograph, Sorted Books, published by Chronicle Books in 2013.

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New York — Nina Katchadourian, Monument to the Unelected, Sep 18–Dec 12, 2020