Special thanks to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the September 11th Fund for their support of this project and to the U.S. General Services Administration for incredible moral and logistical support and to Meg Duguid and Clare Weiss of the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation for their hard work and creativity.
"On this site stood" is a project to install sculptures --historical markers and plaques -- on buildings and in parks around lower Manhattan from May through September of 2009. A website will accompany the exhibition, to address questions. Its URL will be www.OnThisSiteStood.com and its elements can be seen here.
The sculptures look just like traditional “historical” markers and plaques but instead of highlighting a civil war battle or the birthplace of a famous person, they highlight a contemporary social or political issue, adding the weight of historical importance to today’s concerns. The text on each one is carefully crafted to provoke thought without alienating the viewer. One reads:
ON THIS SITE STOOD RY BRAUER, TYPICAL AMERICAN TEEN. BY THE AGE OF 18, HE HAD WITNESSED OVER 30,000 MURDERS ON TV.
The plaques are a NYC-specific incarnation of a project I'm still working on called "The I-75 Project" (http://www.TheI-75Project.com) in which the free-standing markers would be placed in each of the 50 rest areas up and down the length of Interstate 75, which runs from Michigan down to Florida. These markers were chosen as last year's Main St. Sculpture Project for The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (http://www.aldrichart.org/exhibitions/past/magnusson.php) where they gathered great reviews from museum visitors, local press, the blogosphere and The New York Times. (review enclosed herein) They change the way people look at historical markers, change the way they look at art and hopefully may even change the way they look at some of our current affairs and that's what they'll do in lower Manhattan, too.
The text on them is carefully crafted to engage, not enrage, to draw the viewers in, to plant a message that just might resonate. I love the idea of public art that makes people think, and socially conscious art that’s accessible and inviting instead of inaccessible and insulting. That's the art I'm trying to create with this project. I hope I've succeeded.