Discovery Ep. 6: Reimagining monuments


In the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd, hundreds of monuments associated with historic racism have been destroyed, removed or planned for removal. On Episode 6 of DISCOVERY, Chris Barr is joined by Paul Farber, co-founder of Monument Lab, and Karyn Olivier, artist and associate professor of sculpture at Temple University. Together, they’ll examine how art and history can combine to make statements of power in public spaces and how we can envision monuments that fully reckon with history. They’ll also talk through ways to tell stories of social justice and equity in our public spaces.

Karyn Olivier is a Philadelphia based artist who works across a range of media including public art, sculpture, photography and installations. She has exhibited at the Gwangju and Busan Biennials, World Festival of Black Arts and Culture (Dakar, Senegal), The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Whitney Museum of Art, MoMA P.S.1, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, The Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh), Sculpture Center (NY), Drexel University, the University of the Arts, Ulrich Museum of Art, University of Delaware Museum, among others. In 2017 Olivier installed a large-scale commissioned work for Philadelphia’s Mural Arts program and Monument Lab in historic Vernon Park. In 2015 Olivier created public works for Creative Time in Central Park and NYC’s Percent for Art program. She received the 2018-19 Rome Prize and has been the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, the New York Foundation for the Arts Award, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, the William H. Johnson Prize, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award, a Creative Capital Foundation grant and a Harpo Foundation grant. Olivier is currently an associate professor of sculpture at Tyler School of Art and Architecture.

Paul M. Farber, PhD is Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Monument Lab. He also serves as Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Public Art and Space at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design. Farber is the author of A Wall of Our Own: An American History of the Berlin Wall (University of North Carolina Press, 2020) which tells the untold story of a group of American artists and writers (Leonard Freed, Angela Davis, Shinkichi Tajiri, and Audre Lorde) who found refuge along the Berlin Wall and in Cold War Germany in order to confront political divisions back home in the United States. He is also the co-editor with Ken Lum of Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia (Temple University Press, 2019), a public art and history handbook designed to generate new critical ways of thinking about and building monuments.



DISCOVERY is a weekly show exploring how the arts and artists build informed and engaged communities. Hosted by the Knight Arts team.