Date - Monday, November 2, 2020
3:00 pm-4:30 pm
In conversation with artist Nina Katchadourian, John Spiak of Grand Central Art Center, and Shauna McCabe of the Art Gallery of Guelph
Join us Monday, November 2 at 3 pm ET for a virtual conversation with artist Nina Katchadourian, John Spiak, Director and Chief Curator of California State University Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center, and Shauna McCabe, Director of the Art Gallery of Guelph. A day before the United States election, the discussion will focus on Katchadourian’s project Monument to the Unelected. This event is free and will take place online – please register via Eventbrite to receive the Zoom link.
Over the past months, plastic signs endorsing Joe Biden or Donald Trump have cropped up in front of residential homes across the United States. At the same time, lawns in California, Arizona, and Wisconsin are promoting candidates that do not appear on the ballot this year. Endorsing the runner-up in every presidential election in American history, the 58 signs in each installation were created by American artist Nina Katchadourian, an installation that speaks to what might have been – to choices not made – as Americans prepare to make another political decision. All the signs are printed on corrugated plastic, using the same commercial production methods as common election signage, from those endorsing John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Herbert Hoover, to Bob Dole, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton.
Monument to the Unelected was first presented by Katchadourian in 2008, and has subsequently been exhibited every four years. Reflecting on what she notes is “a particularly American phenomenon,” she has updated the installation with each election, working with designer Evan Gaffney to give the signs a contemporary look so that they blend into the visual landscape of American elections even as their content stands out. “At the moment when the country is deeply preoccupied with a major national election,” the artist notes, “Monument to the Unelected presents a view and a reminder of the country’s collective political road not taken.”
This year, the installation has even more poignancy. Monument to the Unelected is a symbol of the peaceful transfer of power that has followed every election cycle in US history – a practice of gracefully accommodating political difference now threatened by Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting a loss at the polls. Following the election, the 59th sign will be planted by a local first-time voter at each site.