Michelle Z. Donahue-What Will Future Monuments Look Like?-Schuyler DeMarinis-Blog Post #8

In the Smithsonian’s article, What Will Future Monuments in the Nation’s Capital Look Like?, Michelle Z. Donahue explores the idea of how the monolithic marble statues are no longer desired in our times. Clearly, they are on the checklist of things to do when visiting the National Mall but as representations of our age today they no longer hold suit. The article quickly shifts into a competition that was hosted by the National Park Service, National Capital Planning Commission, and the Van Alen Institute titled Memorials for the Future. Artists were asked to submit proposals for memorials for future catastrophes or happenings. Many of these pieces were conceptual ranging from climate change to immigration.


Lida Abdul, White House, 2005

   The future of monuments from what Donahue pointed out would mean “changing perspectives both of what a memorial means as well as how it’s viewed and experienced is central to creating meaningful monuments in the future.” Janet Echelman, artist and winner of the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in 2014, stated that “memorials should not preach, or be definitive answer for questions raised in the viewer’s mind.” This is something that Lida Abdul wanted to accomplish in her work White House. I agree that this is an important aspect to grasp the likes of many.


Janet Echelman, 1.8, London, U.K., 2016

   In short, it was decided that temporary monuments would be the best solution for the future of Washington D.C. With already overpopulated Mall with monuments and memorials, there will be a necessity to add more as time passes. For example, Echelman’s piece, 1.8, was hung for only four days in London, UK. The structure was designed off of the tsunami’s wave patterns across the Pacific Ocean. The title refers to the microseconds that the earth day was shortened because of the event. It is conceptual pieces like this that we will see in the future.


Smithsonian Article:


Janet Echelman’s 1.8:



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