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    December 4, 2018–April 21, 2019

    Getty Research Institute

    A color lithograph depicts Boris Iofan's design for the Palace of the Soviets. The tiered, neoclassical construction is topped with a statue of Lenin and flanked by a giant balloon on the right and a blimp on the left.

    Table 3, Palace of Soviets Project, Mikhail Karasik, lithographer, 2006. Boris Iofan, architect. From Mikhail Karasik, The Palace of Soviets: Design Competition (Saint Petersburg, 2006). The Getty Research Institute, 2732-729. © Mikhail Karasik, 2006

  • A color print depicts a stenciled sun comprised of footage from a sunset superimposed on the sky above a mountain landscape.

    JG (offset) (detail), Tacita Dean, 2013. The Getty Research Institute, 2018.PR.18. Courtesy the artist; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris; Frith Street Gallery, London; and Niels Borch Jensen Edition, Berlin/Copenhagen. © Tacita Dean

  • A lightbox in the form of a wooden crate displays photographs of French monuments taken back to France following the Algerian War of Independence from 1954 to 1962.

    History Lessons, Dennis Adams, 1990. The Getty Research Institute, 2018.R.16. Gift of Dennis Adams. © Dennis Adams

  • A black-and-white photograph of soldiers standing around a recently toppled statue of Napoleon.

    The toppling of the Vendôme Column, Bruno Braquehais, 1871. The Getty Research Institute, 95.R.102

  • A black-and-white photograph of the ancient Pyramid of the Magician in Mexico.

    Maison du Nain, Uxmal, Yucatan (Pyramid of the Magician), Claude-Joseph-Désiré Charnay, 1858–1860. From the photograph album Ruines américaines, 1858–1860. The Getty Research Institute, 2014.R.13

  • A black-and-white photograph of the Capitol Records headquarters, a multistory, circular building in Los Angeles.

    Metropolis: Capitol Records, Karl Gernot Kuehn, 1986. The Getty Research Institute, 2016.R.29. © Karl Gernot Kuehn

  • A black-and-white photograph shows an aerial view of the East Los Angeles Interchange complex, with intersections among Interstate 5, Interstate 10, State Route 60, and U.S. Route 101.

    Highways 5, 10, 60, and 101 Looking West, L.A. River and Downtown Beyond, Michael Light, 2004. Pigment print from Los Angeles, 02.12.04 (San Francisco, 2004). The Getty Research Institute, 2653-225. Courtesy the artist and Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica. © 2004 Michael Light

  • A color photograph of the Valley of the Tombs ancient site in Palmyra, Syria.

    Valley of the Tombs from Necropolis, Palmyra, Syria, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, 2005. The Getty Research Institute, 2017.R.21. Courtesy Gallery Luisotti. © Ursula Schulz-Dornburg

  • A color photograph shows an aerial view of the Trench, a shipping corridor that cuts through Los Angeles.

    South Central Garden from photographic project The Trench: An Artery in the Heart of Global Capitalism in the Linear City portfolio, Lane Barden, 2004–2005. The Getty Research Institute, 2013.R.4. © Lane Barden, 2018

  • A color photograph shows an aerial view of the Los Angeles River flowing through the city.

    Crossing Under the 134 Freeway from photographic project The Los Angeles River as Sunken Garden in the Linear City portfolio, Lane Barden, 2004–2005. The Getty Research Institute, 2013.R.4. © Lane Barden, 2018


December 4, 2018–April 21, 2019, Getty Research Institute

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Monumentality evokes an aura of greatness, a sense of power and gravity that demands public recognition. As markers of history and repositories of collective memory, monuments can project multiple and sometimes contradictory meanings.

Scale and size have figured prominently in human efforts to mark cosmic and geological time, from patterns etched on land in ancient rituals to earthworks created in the 1970s. Across centuries and cultures, power is envisioned through the planning of cities and their monuments, both real and imagined. While monuments are often meant to legitimate ideological regimes or promote the myth of cultural superiority, the documentation and mediation of such structures provides fertile ground for contemporary artists to challenge the status quo.

This exhibition investigates various paradigms of monumentality, how they are generated through systems of belief and structures of power, and why certain monuments endure and others fall.


Dennis Adams
Annalisa Alloatti and Mirella Bentivoglio
Reyner Banham
Lane Barden
Welton Becket
Natale Bonifacio
Bruno Braquehais
Sergei Petrovich Burylin
Claude-Joseph-Désiré Charnay
Joyce Cutler-Shaw
Tacita Dean
Ruben Woodin Dechamps and Oscar Hudson
Theaster Gates
Gianfranco Gorgoni
Mikhail Karasik
Leandro Katz
Karl Gernot Kuehn
Alexander Liberman
Michael Light
Benedetta Cappa Marinetti
Raissa Gavrilovna Matveyeva
Pál után Pátzay
Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Edward Ranney
Ed Ruscha
Ursula Schulz-Dornburg
Robert Smithson
Louis Vignes
Lebbeus Woods


read the conversations

Monument Lab
Conversations around the past, present, and future of monuments


Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.
December 4, 2018–April 18, 2019
(Note: no tours on December 25 and 27, or January 1)



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