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2020 Paul Mellon Lecture Explores the Meaning of a Monument

This week, friends, supporters, and members of the public gathered in New York City for the 2020 Paul Mellon Lecture, presented for the first time in partnership with the Museum of the City of New York. The program featured a dynamic discussion by artist Vinnie Bagwell, Mark Jarzombek of MIT Architecture, and Jenny Moore of the Chinati Foundation that aimed to reframe the “monument” in contemporary society and explore the role communities play in decision-making about past and future sites. The discussion was moderated by Erica Avrami of Columbia University’s GSAPP.

At the lecture, following an introduction by Whitney Donhauser, President & Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York, and Bénédicte de Montlaur, CEO of World Monuments Fund—the speakers and moderator took the stage to discuss the role of monuments in contemporary society, as well as the role that communities play in decision-making about monuments.

From left: Vinnie Bagwell, Jenny Moore, Mark Jarzombek, and Erica Avrami.
From left: Vinnie Bagwell, Jenny Moore, Mark Jarzombek, and Erica Avrami.

“It’s a kind of stewardship… by being responsible for the things that are in the world that either need to be preserved or are such agents of change,” Ms. Moore said of thinking of monuments as transformative agents for communities.

The program ended with a Q&A from the audience. You can watch a recording of the night’s program here, and explore the slideshow below for more from the event. Watch the lecture in full here