The Monument We Make
Monday, April 3, 2023
4:00 PM
  • Exhibition
  • Performance
  • Talks

Mandell Theater
3220 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA
Get Directions

Program Info

Free Admission (with RSVP)
All Ages


Mind Maintenance

  • Joshua Abrams – guimbre
  • Chad Taylor – mbira

Odean Pope Trio

  • Odean Pope – saxophone
  • Joshua Abrams – bass
  • Chad Taylor – drums

Organized by Mikel Patrick Avery

Philadelphia Contemporary, Gray Gallery, Ars Nova Workshop, Forman Arts Initiative, and Drexel University presents The Monument We Make.

In conjunction with the yearlong installation of Theaster Gates’ Monument in Waiting sculpture on Drexel University’s campus, we are proud to present a one-night only event featuring very special performances as well as a discussion featuring Theaster Gates, Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, and Dr. Paul Farber, moderated by Dean Jason Schupbach, as they discuss the future of monuments in public spaces and the ways they can represent us all.

4pm (at the site of Monument in Waiting, Drexel University)
Outdoor performance with Mind Maintenance featuring Joshua Abrams on guimbre and Chad Taylor on mbira. Light refreshments will be served.

5:30pm (Mandell Theatre)
Panel featuring Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, President of the Mellon Foundation; Theaster Gates, artist and creator of Monument in Waiting, and Dr. Paul Farber, Executive Director of Monument Lab; Introduced and moderated by Jason Schupbach, Dean, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

This panel will focus on issues raised by Gates’ Monument in Waiting, which questions the very concept of monumental sculpture by inviting us all to be in the role traditionally reserved for “heroic” figures, civic leaders, and other individuals held up as timeless icons. Created in the context of a nationwide reckoning with the legacy of Confederate statues, the work resonates with many of the issues explored by Paul Farber’s Monument Lab. Presentation of honorary degree to Gates by Drexel’s President John Fry and Forman Arts Initiative’s Co-Founder Michael Forman.

6:40pm (Mandell Theatre)
Performance by Odean Pope (tenor sax), Joshua Abrams (bass), and Chad Taylor (drums)

8pm (Behrakis Grand Hall)
Reception with Drexel Jazztet

Theaster Gates
(b. 1973) is an artist and social innovator who lives and works in Chicago. Over the past decade, Gates has translated the intricacies of Blackness through space theory and land development, sculpture, and performance. Through the expansiveness of his approach as a thinker, maker, and builder, he extends the role of the artist as an agent of change. His performance practice and visual work find roots in Black knowledge, objects, history, and archives. Gates has exhibited and performed at The New Museum, New York, (2022); The Aichi Triennial, Tokoname (2022); The Serpentine Pavilion, London (2022); The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK (2021); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013 and 2021); Tate Liverpool, UK (2020); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2019); Palais de Tokyo Paris, France (2019); Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany (2018); Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2016); Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2013); and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). He is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees including the Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts (2022); an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects (2021); the World Economic Forum Crystal Award (2020); J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development (2018); Nasher Sculpture Prize (2018); Sprengel Museum Kurt Schwitters Prize (2017); and Artes Mundi 6 Prize (2015). Gates is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Visual Arts and serves as the Special Advisor to the President for Arts Initiatives.

Cover: Theaster Gates