New monuments | Chicago Brendan Fernandes | 14/05/2024

Envisioned as the first in a series of interventions involving monuments within and outside the United States, New monuments | Chicago by Brendan Fernandes seeks to challenge the limited historical narratives of conventional monuments and reimagine them as inclusive gathering spaces for diverse representation. As Fernandes’ first public intervention, the artist will collaborate with AIM Architecture to design a sculptural installation surrounding the General John Alexander Logan Monument in Chicago’s Grant Park. This structure, made of scaffolding, symbolically marks the statue as “in transition,” revisiting the complex history of its likeness, General Logan—a nineteenth-century figure who initially banned black people from settling in Illinois, but who later advocated the abolition of slavery and support for African American rights. Fernandes will activate his temporary installation with an artist-choreographed performance featuring light, sound and a cast of dancers from Chicago’s BIPOC and Queer communities. The monument takes place in the dark and is illuminated to reveal the dancers’ bodies, which form physical expressions of scenes, with elements of lifting, carrying and contact improvisation. The performance aims to create a vibrant gathering space that expands stories of hope for public sites to better reflect the communities they serve.

An integral part of Fernandes’ transformative intervention will be a community prompt asking the public to write their vision for a monument that represents inclusivity on a custom label. Tags will be available on-site during public hours at Black Cube’s shipping container, and will be collected and displayed to illustrate the multitude of voices that make up the city of Chicago. The artist hopes that this collective reinterpretation will be a moment for self-expression, social engagement, and critical dialogue surrounding the history and current state of colonial monuments in Chicago and beyond.

New monuments | Chicago will coincide with EXPO CHICAGO 2024. Fernandes’ sculptural installation will be on display April 10-13, with public hours from 11am – 5pm daily in Black Cube’s shipping container to gather community response. The performance will take place on the evening of Friday, April 12 from 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM and will be durational, meaning visitors can experience the performance at any time during the three-hour window. All events, unless otherwise noted, will take place at the General John Alexander Logan Monument in Grant Park (S Michigan Ave & E 9th St, Chicago, IL 60605).

Public hours: April 10-13, 2024, daily 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Performance: April 12, 2024, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: General John Alexander Logan Monument, S Michigan Ave & E 9th St, Chicago, IL 60605

New monuments | Chicago is presented by the Black Cube Nomadic Art Museum in collaboration with the Chicago Park District. Architectural intervention by AIM Architecture. Made possible with generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Chicago Park District, David and Laura Merage Foundation, Project&’s Monuments to Movements and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.