The unmonumental project began in the Spring of 2008, the day I visited the Unmonumental exhibition at New York's New Museum. The exhibition set out to explore fragmented forms, torn pictures... crumbling symbols and broken icons. Later, I shot a photograph of a junk-filled shopping cart in the Meat Packing District and posted the image on twitter with the hashtag #unmonumental as a joke. Soon, I began shooting and posting photographs of discarded objects and detritus daily. I re-read Robert Smithson's essay "Monuments of Passaic"1 and re-visited George Brassaï's "Involuntary Sculptures".2 What began as snarky commentary turned into a personal exploration of found objects and street photography.
Years later, unmonumental continues. It has grown into a project of monumental proportions. The images are distributed over online platforms that serve as vehicles for real-time communiqués as well as archival receptacles. Inadvertently referencing Modernist, Minimalist and Postmodernist tropes, the found objects of unmonumental reflect the ever-shifting formal concerns of art and the rich feedback loop between artist and city
1) Smithson, R. Monuments of Passaic, Artforum, December 1967.
2) Brassaï, G. Sculptures involontaires, Minotaure, n° 3-4, déc 1933.
The Highlights, Lance Wakeling (October 2009): Voluntary Sculptures: Photographing the Unmonumental
Joy Garnett is an artist who lives in Brooklyn, NY.