Pulling Together

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Monument Lab has been invited by the the Trust for the National Mall to curate Pulling Together, the inaugural exhibition of the Beyond Granite initiative on the National Mall in the Fall of 2023. The exhibition features prototype monuments that respond to the central curatorial question, “What stories remain untold on the National Mall?” Pulling Together builds out platforms for artist-led civic engagement, historical interpretation, and storytelling as a means for advancing what it means to imagine, build, live, and grow with monuments in the nation’s capital and beyond. This project, a partnership among the Trust, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) and the National Park Service (NPS), is funded by the Mellon Foundation’s Monuments Project.

Pulling Together is inspired by the 1939 Easter Sunday performance of renowned Black opera singer, Marian Anderson, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, as she was barred from nearby Constitution Hall due to segregation in the capital. Her performance remains monumental in public memory with educator and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune remarking at the time that the performance “told a story of hope for tomorrow–a story of triumph–a story of pulling together, a story of splendor and real democracy.” The goal of the exhibition is to bring together innovative and experimental forms of monumentality and memory-making to shine a light on and acknowledge Indigenous legacies, histories of enslavement, civil rights, LGBTQ activism, pathways for immigration, environmental justice, and other narratives of American struggle and survival.

Director and Founder of Monument Lab, Dr. Paul Farber, and Pulitzer Prize Winner, Dr. Salamishah Tillet, are co-curating the exhibition, treating monuments as “a statement of power and presence in public.” They are guiding the creative process for identifying and curating the artists, installations, and sites for the exhibition. 

Monument Lab proud to present the six visionary artists that will be bringing commemorative exhibition to life on the National Mall in the Fall of 2023:


Exhibition Team
Co-Curators: Paul M. Farber and Salamishah Tillet
Project Management: Nico Rodriguez, Matthew Seamus Callinan, Gina Cirulli, Adele Kenworthy, and Tina Villadolid
Designer: William Hodgson
Research Advisor: Sue Mobley
Assistant Curator: Aubree Penney
Monument Lab Team: Amelia Carter, Jen Cleary, Kristen Giannantonio, Allison Nkwocha, and Naima Murphy Salcido
Communications: Corina Chang, Florie Hutchinson, and Dina Paola Rodriguez
Video and Photography: MING Media and Ashley J. Mitchell
Monument Lab Board of Directors: Lola Bakare (Secretary), Ellery Roberts Biddle, Amari Johnson, Monica O. Montgomery (Vice Chair), Stephan Nicoleau (Treasurer), Michelle Angela Ortiz, Christina Samala, Kirk Savage, and Tiffany Tavarez (Chair)
Lead Partners: The Trust for the National Mall, National Capital Planning Commission, and the National Park Service
Partners: Justice and Sustainability Associates and LINK Strategic Partners

Curatorial Advisory Board
Kevin Gover (Under Secretary for Museums and Culture, Smithsonian Institution)
Toni Griffin (Professor in Practice of Urban Planning, Harvard School of Design)
Laura Brower Hagood (Executive Director, DC History Center)
Martha S. Jones (The Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor, Professor of History and a Professor at the SNF Agora Institute, The Johns Hopkins University)
Bryan Lee (Founder/Director, Colloqate Design)
Laura Huerta Migus (Deputy Director, Office of Museum Services, Institute of Library and Museum Services)
Maria del Carmen Montoya (Assistant Professor Sculpture and Spatial Practices, Corcoran School of Art and Design)
Katrina Phillips (Associate Professor of History, Macalester College)
Monica Rhodes (Harvard LOEB Fellow)
Kirk Savage (William S. Dietrich II Professor of History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh)
Jason Schupbach (Dean of the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Drexel University)
Amber Wiley (Assistant Professor of Art History, Rutgers University)

Supported by
The Mellon Foundation

Image Credit: Collage by Allison Nkwocha and William Hodgson for Monument Lab.