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Spring 2025: 15.1
Special Issue: Unrealized Memorials
Guest Editors: Cher Krause Knight and Harriet F. Senie
Submission Deadline: June 1, 2024
Throughout history and around the world there have been many memorial competitions, and their number seems only to increase by the day; for each there is usually just a single winner. Too often worthy proposals by runners-up or other entrants go unknown or forgotten. Yet these have the potential to reinvigorate commemorative gestures, perhaps offering new definitions or physical forms for expanding the conception of a “memorial.” While such designs may not have been suitable for given commissions, they can be extremely engaging and even provocative in their own right, deserving of our attention and consideration. Then, too, some artists independently conceive ideas for memorial or monument projects that would further broaden current commemorative possibilities, but they may not have had the resources, bandwidth, connections or knowledge necessary to fully develop these models. Similarly, public art administrators and curators, as well as historians and critics, have also envisioned promising paths to open up existing memorial parameters for contemporary subjects, especially those who (and which) are marginalized or underrecognized. There have also been collaborations across disciplinary borders that provide unanticipated approaches to memory work. Matters related to patronage, and audience participation and response are also relevant here.
What and whom are missing from the memorial landscape? How can these absences best be addressed now? In addition to an expansion of subjects, in which other ways could contemporary memorial design be enriched and the memorial landscape become more effective and just? Have you seen short lists for memorial competitions in which second or third place entries seemed better choices than the winner? If so, what made those designs more intriguing and engaging? What, if anything, has prevented you from pursuing your unrealized ideas for memorials?
This special issue of Public Art Dialogue invites the submission of abstracts and completed submissions for essays, focused cases studies, conversations, and artists’ projects addressing concepts for unrealized and unbuilt memorials, with the hope that by resurfacing these prototypes we can collectively forge a future for memorials that is enriched, productive, and perhaps even more complicated. Our goal is to create an expanded dialogue about what could constitute appropriate and effective memorials going forward, a topic to be illuminated by investigating designs that have thus far gone unexamined or underappreciated—so that they and their histories can offer meaningful opportunities as we look ahead.
The co-editors of this special issue of Public Art Dialogue invite abstracts and completed submissions the following types of submissions: essays, focused cases studies, conversations, and artists’ projects addressing unrealized and unbuilt memorials.
This special issue is planned for publication in Spring 2025, in recognition of Public Art Dialogue's 15th anniversary.
Find more information here.