Public Iconographies

Monument Lab Research Residency

Summer 2019 - Spring 2020
Pulitzer Arts Foundation
St. Louis, MO


How would you map the monuments of St. Louis?

In a summer research residency at the Pulitzer, Monument Lab gathered publicly-sourced inventories of St. Louis’s symbols and sites of memory to explore this question. Titled Public Iconographies, our project included both existing landmarks and monuments, as well as missing aspects of the city’s current landscape which are nonetheless part of the public consciousness around histories of justice and injustice, as well as equity and exclusion.

Monument Lab and a team of local collaborative researchers worked from a research field office in the museum during open hours and extended into various communities through research-gathering meet-ups at cultural sites around St. Louis. Residents and visitors were invited to submit personalized responses on paper forms, each with a hand drawn map of the city, to build an atlas of both traditional and unofficial sites of memory, whether they be existing, potential, historical, or erased. Over 760 participants contributed maps.

The goals of the project are to explore the relationship between St. Louis’s residents and the city’s inherited symbols, as a means to critically explore, represent, and update the iconography of the city. The residency will culminate in Winter 2019/2020 with continued stakeholder engagement, a collaboration with Washington University’s African American Studies and Sociology departments, and the release of a publication featuring Monument Lab’s findings.

Monument Lab Residency Team: Paul Farber, Laurie Allen, Kristen Giannantonio, and William Hodgson. 

Engagement Advisory: Yannick Trapman-O'Brien.

Pulitzer Arts Team: Kristin Fleischmann Brewer and Sophie Lipman

Printing: Riso Hell Press

Partners: Pulitzer Arts Foundation

The Public Iconographies residency was presented in coordination with the Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation.