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Back to Blog October 9, 2020

Ken Lum and Karyn Olivier talk Art, Monuments and Social Responsibility

Author: Zachary Vickers


Artblog Radio shared a recent conversation, "Art and Social Responsibility Today," featuring Ken Lum, co-founder and chief curatorial advisor for the public art and research studio, Monument Lab, and Karyn Olivier, associate professor of sculpture at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture and a dynamic leader in public art. The talk originally streamed on September 23rd, 2020. The conversation was also moderated by Tyler alumna and Tyler's Executive Assistant & Project Manager Olivia Menta. For the full transcript, visit Artblog's website here.

On October 7, 2020 Ken Lum and Karyn Olivier also held a conversation as part of Tyler Glass's distinguished Laurie Wagman Visiting Artist Series—one of Tyler's many programming series, all of which invite the leading artists, architects, designers, educators, historians and more to Tyler to give lectures, demonstrations, explore intderdiscipinarity, meet one-on-one with students in their studios and much more. You can experience all of Tyler's upcoming events on our calendar.

Some monuments and murals have been under heightened scrutiny and debate in the wake of this year's national social protests. This summer, Olivier wrote an OpEd in The Washington Post, "Removing an offensive mural from the University of Kentucky isn’t ‘racial justice.’" Earlier this year, Olivier was selected to create a public monument to Dinah, a once-enslaved woman who lived in Philadelphia’s historic Stenton House during the Revolutionary War, as part of a Pew Center for Arts & Heritage-funded project at Stenton. This monument is part of Olivier’s expanding and signature body of site-specific installations of public art around the world (including Florence, ItalyLexington, KentuckyNew York City; and Philadelphia). These interdisciplinary projects experiment with media, explore present-day narratives and occupy the intersection of art and social practice to ignite change. 

On October 6, The Mellon Foundation, the country’s largest philanthropic donor to the arts and humanities, announced it will make rethinking this country’s landscape of monuments and memorials a major institutional priority with a $250 million “Monuments Project,” which will include funding for new memorials and for the removal or recontextualization of existing ones. Among the Project's recipients, Philadelphia's Monument Lab will receive a $4 million grant to create an audit of the country’s existing monuments and memorials.