(2008 – ongoing)

unmonumental was born in the Spring of 2008 after a visit to the Unmonumental exhibition at New York’s New Museum, which set out to explore fragmented forms, torn pictures… crumbling symbols and broken icons. Back on the street, Garnett shot a photograph of a junk-filled shopping cart and posted it on twitter with the hashtag #unmonumental. She continued to shoot and post photographs of discarded objects on a daily basis. She re-visited Robert Smithson’s  “Monuments of Passaic”1 and George Brassaï’s “Involuntary Sculptures”2 and what began as twitter snark grew into a long-term exploration of impermanence through street photography.

Follow unmonumental on Instagram (#unmonumental)


1) Smithson, R. Monuments of Passaic, Artforum, December 1967.

2) Brassaï, G. Sculptures involontaires, Minotaure, n° 3-4, déc 1933.


Tom McGlynn (catalogue 2013;2016):

Unmonumental [PDF]

Lance Wakeling, The Highlights, (October 2009):

Voluntary Sculptures: Photographing the Unmonumental; (download PDF of Voluntary Sculptures)


The Huffington Post (March 22, 2016) Tracey Harnish: unmonumental: Joy Garnett Walks the Streets of New York


Beauty Is in the Streets,” Art21 Magazine, Mar/Apr 2015 Issue: “Ruin”


Download a PDF of the 2nd edition of unmonumental (2016)

Or read it below (click ‘full-screen’) or at issuu. It includes new images and  text, and the original essay by Tom McGlynn (~ 54 pages).

The 1st edition (Oct 2013) is available in hardcover and as an ebook on blurb or via iTunes.



Gallatin Galleries, NYU: November 5, 2015 – January 26, 2016

PRESS: Musée Magazine (November 2015): New York, I Love You, But… At NYU’s Gallatin Galleries  PDF

unmonumental 1

Joy Garnett, Gallatin Galleries, NY