Summer 2020 – March 2021


 Related programs


In this turbulent moment when we find ourselves reevaluating American identity and values, the MONUMENTS NOW exhibition at Socrates Sculpture Park seeks to address the role of monuments in society and commemorate underrepresented narratives such as diasporic, Indigenous, and queer histories.

MONUMENTS NOW evolves over three cumulative parts. Part I opens opens summer 2020 with major new commissions for contemporary monuments by acclaimed artists Jeffrey Gibson, Paul Ramírez Jonas, and Xaviera Simmons. Then Part II and Part III of the exhibition open together on October 10, 2020. Part II encompasses ten monument sculptures by the Park’s 2020 Artist Fellows and Part III features a multi-faceted monument project collectively realized by high school students. All three parts of the exhibition remain on view through March 2021.

In response to MONUMENTS NOW, the Park’s Broadway Billboard will also feature a monuments-related artwork by artist Nona Faustine. Furthermore, in acknowledgment of how monuments are shaped by society as well as by artists, the public is invited to share their reactions on-site and online over the course of the exhibition.

The exhibition will be documented in an artist-focused publication made possible by the Henry Luce Foundation.

MONUMENTS NOW is organized by Socrates Sculpture Park and curated by Jess Wilcox, Socrates Curator & Director of Exhibitions.

Press Releases: Part I, Part II


Part I of the exhibition, MONUMENTS NOW: Jeffrey Gibson, Paul Ramírez Jonas, Xaviera Simmons, features three distinct visions for monuments. Press Release

Artist Jeffrey Gibson—a recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant”—will present a monument to inclusion and diversity: Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House. Drawing from Indigenous Mississippian culture, architecture, activist graphic traditions, and queer performative strategies, the large-scale public sculpture projects a future vision of the world that embraces complexities within collective identity. Learn More

Rendering of Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House, 2020. Courtesy of the artist; Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; Kavi Gupta, Chicago; Roberts Projects, Los Angeles.

Paul Ramírez Jonas imagines his Eternal Flame monument as a communal grill. The form honors the role of cuisine and cooking in cultural cohesion and expression among immigrant communities and identities. Eternal Flame is designed to invite dialogue and exchange. Learn More

Paul Ramiréz Jonas holds a lit match labeled “Eternal Flame,” 2020.

Xaviera Simmons’ contribution, The structure the labor the foundation the escape the pause, is composed of sculptural forms – each baring landscapes of text culled from historical documents foundational to racial disenfranchisement in the United States. The works are a monument to promises denied, offering insight into governmental policies that continue to shape the racial caste system we live within presently. Learn More

Rendering of The structure the labor the foundation the escape the pause, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery.




For Part II of the exhibition — MONUMENTS NOW: Call and Response — the Park released an open-call for monuments. The 200+ proposals submitted through a competitive open-call were reviewed by Socrates Director, John Hatfield and Socrates Curator, Jess Wilcox, as well as two Curatorial Advisors – Aimé Iglesias-Lukin, Director and Chief Curator of Visual Arts at the Americas Society and Legacy Russell, Associate Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem. The jury ultimately selected ten artists for The 2020 Socrates Annual artist fellowship and the MONUMENTS NOW exhibition.

The 2020 Socrates Annual Artist Fellows are: Daniel Bejar, Fontaine Capel*, Patrick Costello, Dionisio Cortes Ortega, Bel Falleiros, Jenny Polak, Aya Rodriguez-Izumi, Andrea Solstad, Kiyan Williams*, and Sandy Williams IV*

*2020 New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellows

Bel Falleiros, Drawing for The America We Want, 2019, Courtesy of the Artist.

The Artist Fellows’ projects for MONUMENTS NOW: Call and Response take various archetypal monumental forms – such as the arch or the column – and dedicate them to underrepresented peoples and histories: from the civil servants who deliver fresh drinking water to the everyday struggle for self-determination by the country’s descendants of chattel slavery.

What unites these various approaches is a focus on collective agency and power, departing from the hero narrative of traditional monuments. Much of the works’ impact relies on public participation and reception by actively inviting visitors to take part in creating the meaning of the monument.

Press Release

Daniel Bejar, Concept rendering for monument to immigrants, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.


For the final part of the exhibition, MONUMENTS NOW: The Next Generation, local high school students participating in the Park’s arts education program, Socrateens, will collectively research and realize a monument sculpture and accompanying zine.

Socrateens doing field research in Queens. Photo by Douglas Paulson.

 Related programs


In Praise of Famous Men No More
By Nona Faustine

Opens Spring 2020

In conjunction with MONUMENTS NOW, the Park’s Broadway Billboard above the main entrance features artist Nona Faustine’s photographic renderings of contested American monuments – probing at the power and integrity of these symbolic icons.


Summer 2020–Winter 2021

In acknowledgment of how monuments are created not just by artists but also by society, the public is invited to engage with the exhibition through the Community Response Board on-site and through digital activations and programs online.

Major support for MONUMENTS NOW comes from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Ford Foundation, and VIA Art Fund. Support for an accompanying publication is made possible by the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional support for Socrates Sculpture Park’s Visual Arts programming comes from Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Charina Foundation, Cowles Charitable Trust, Mark di Suvero, Sidney E. Frank Foundation, Maxine & Stuart Frankel Foundation, Devra Freelander Artist Fund, Agnes Gund, Lambent Foundation, New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowships, Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas W. Smith, and Spacetime C.C. Support for Socrates Sculpture Park’s Socrateens program comes from Con Edison, Robert Lehman Foundation, The Pierre & Tana Matisse Foundation, and Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Socrates programs are also supported, in part, by public funds from Queens Borough President Melinda R. Katz; the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council and Jimmy Van Bramer, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; and the National Endowment for the Arts.