(2008 – ongoing)
unmonumental was born in the Spring of 2008, the day I visited the Unmonumental exhibition at New York’s New Museum. The exhibition set out to explore fragmented forms, torn pictures… crumbling symbols and broken icons. Afterwards, back on the street, I shot a photograph of a junk-filled shopping cart and posted it on twitter with the hashtag #unmonumental. I began shooting and posting photographs of discarded objects on a daily basis. This led me to re-read Robert Smithson’s essay “Monuments of Passaic”1 and to re-visit George Brassaï’s “Involuntary Sculptures”.2 What began as one-off twitter commentary grew into a personal exploration of found objects and street photography.
The unmonumental series has since grown into a project of monumental proportions. I shoot and immediately distribute my photographs as real-time communiqués across social media platforms that also serve as archival receptacles. Inadvertently referencing Modernist, Minimalist and Postmodernist tropes, the found objects of unmonumental reflect the ever-shifting formal concerns of art and the rich feedback loop between artists and the streets of New York.
1) Smithson, R. Monuments of Passaic, Artforum, December 1967.
2) Brassaï, G. Sculptures involontaires, Minotaure, n° 3-4, déc 1933.
The Highlights, Lance Wakeling (October 2009): Voluntary Sculptures: Photographing the Unmonumental
“Beauty Is in the Streets,” Art21 Magazine, Mar/Apr 2015 Issue: “Ruin”
2nd edition (2016) available at ISSUU
JANUARY 2, 2016
The 2nd edition of the unmonumental book is now up: new and improved, available to read online (click ‘full-screen’) and/or print-on-demand (click printer icon) – includes some new images and additional text along with the original essay by Tom McGlynn (about 54 pages):
Gallatin Galleries, NYU: November 5, 2015 – January 26, 2016
Joy Garnett, Gallatin Galleries, NY
PRESS // 2015-2016
The Huffington Post (March 22, 2016) Tracey Harnish: unmonumental: Joy Garnett Walks the Streets of New York
Musée Magazine (November 2015): New York, I Love You, But… At NYU’s Gallatin Galleries PDF
Version (2009): Assemblies | Joy Garnett | unmonumental