Unmonumental
After visiting the 2008 "Unmonumental" exhibition at New York City's New Museum, which explored "fragmented forms, torn pictures...crumbling symbols and broken icons," I spotted a junk-filled shopping cart in New York’s Meat Packing District and shot a photograph of it as a parody. But soon I found myself habitually shooting chance objects in the street and posting the images online directly from my smartphone. I started looking at precursors such as Robert Smithson's "Guide to the Monuments of Passaic New Jersey"(1) and George Brassaï's "Involuntary Sculptures"(2). What began as snarky commentary had seamlessly turned to an exploration of photography as socially networked sculpture. While reminiscent of art objects, these found objects are not art per se; they exist wholly in the vernacular, distinguished by their fleeting nature. They often seem humorous or poignantly absurd. Over time I’ve expanded unmonumental to include a number of platforms (Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, Typepad) that serve as vehicles for real-time communiqués as well as archival receptacles. Five years and over 700 photographs later, this project is now integral to my process, and has grown, ironically, into an archive of monumental proportions. Inadvertently referencing Modernist, Minimalist and Postmodernist tropes across several mediums, unmonumental reflects the ever-shifting formal concerns of art and the rich feedback loop between artist and city.

Joy Garnett, Brooklyn, NY. Spring 2013


1. Smithson, Robert. "Monuments of Passaic," Artforum, December 1967.
2. Brassaï. "Sculptures involontaires", Minotaure, n° 3-4, décembre 1933.

links:
Lance Wakeling (The Highlights): Voluntary Sculptures: Photographing the Unmonumental:
thehighlights.org/wp/?p=1525

more info;

Guide to the Unmonuments of New York:
newsgrist.typepad.com/unmonumental_found_art/guide-to.html

See also:
joygarnett.tumblr.com/tagged/unmonumental
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