Monuments, Ruins and Forgetting

Counterpublic, The Luminary, Saint Louis, April 13-July 13, 2019

Collaboration with Joseph Del Pesco

From Counterpublic website: Joseph del Pesco + Jon Rubin unveil a new commission, Monuments, Ruins and Forgetting at the previously vacant storefront of 2712 Cherokee Street. A three-part installation consisting of storefront signage, street posters, and musical performances, Monuments, Ruins and Forgetting inaugurates a prospective National Museum that—over the course of three months—presents a micro-narrative about historical progression.

Del Pesco and Rubin consider, how does a nation or city or neighborhood decide what to collectively remember? Which histories are deemed worth saving and which are ignored, denied or forgotten? How long does it take for monuments to become ruins, or for once widely known stories to be forgotten?

In the United States, there are now more museums than Starbucks and McDonalds combined, and each museum collects and narrates history. Many American cities, including St. Louis, have opened self-styled national museums, attempting to connect national narratives of exceptionalism to local identities. What does this proliferation of museum-making tell us about where we are in the arc of American culture and empire? Should we be imagining more museums?

Monuments, Ruins and Forgetting, speaks to a cyclical process of change—the appearance of new directions and potential futures alongside remnants of the past, soon faded from memory.