Monument to the Unelected
October 5, 2016
NYC Parks, together with the Prospect Park Alliance and Historic House Trust, is pleased to welcome Nina Katchadourian’s Monument to the Unelected to Prospect Park’s Lefferts Historic House. This temporary installation, consisting of 58 signs bearing the names of the losing candidates from every presidential election in American history, will be on view from November 5 through 13, 2016, on the house’s lawn facing Flatbush Avenue. The installation coincides with this year’s presidential election, and once the results are official, it will eventually include a sign with the name of the loser of the 2016 Presidential Election. The Alliance will present a mock election and programming for youth at the house on Election Day.
Katchadourian was originally commissioned by the Scottsdale Museum of Art to create a new work around the time of the 2008 presidential election and became interested in the plastic election signs sprouting up on front lawns, in vacant lots, and at busy intersections around Scottsdale, Arizona. She points out that “these markers tend to crop up in the weeks leading up to an election, after which they disappear, with some of the names going on to take office and others being largely forgotten.” The signs also struck her as an American tradition of sorts and with an aesthetic all their own.
Working with designer Evan Gaffney, Katchadourian created a series of signs bearing the names of every person who ever ran for president and lost. Each sign was made in a contemporary design vernacular, even if it advertised a candidate from a previous century. None of the signs are designs that were used in the candidates’ actual election campaigns. Many of the signs borrow directly from the designs of signs that she documented in Scottsdale; others were modeled on signs seen in other parts of the country. All the signs are printed on corrugated plastic using similar commercial production methods as common election signage.
This project is supported by the Historic House Trust’s Contemporary Art Partnerships program and the New York State Council on the Arts.