unmonumental (Ingraham)
happy new year #unmonumental (Ingraham)

Main site: http://unmonumental.org

Joy Garnett is an artist who lives in Brooklyn, NY. Follow her unmonumental posts on her Instagram feed or tag your own photographs with #unmonumental

(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.


See also:

The Highlights, Lance Wakeling (October 2009): Voluntary Sculptures: Photographing the Unmonumental



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

BOOK (2nd edition 2016)

2nd edition 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):

The 1st edition (Oct 2013) is still for sale in hardcover and ebook on blurb or via iTunes


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


unmonumental 1

Joy Garnett, Gallatin Galleries, NY

PRESS // 2015-2016

HuffPo-unmonumentalThe 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




https://i2.wp.com/www.version.org/images/v.png  Version (2009): Assemblies | Joy Garnett | unmonumental