Thomas Hirschhorn’s temporary cultural project Gramsci Monument in the Bronx
Thomas Hirschhorn's temporary art pavillon "Gramsci Monument", 2013, Bronx, New York, Courtesy Dia Art Foundation, Foto: Romain Lopez
With the help of the Dia Art Foundation, the Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn has constructed the „Gramsci Monument“ on the grounds of Forest Houses, a New York City Housing Authority development in the Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx. In the coming ten weeks (until September 15), the pavilion will invite everybody to participate in lectures, concerts, and many other cultural activities, announced the Dia Art Foundation.
“I decided — O.K., almost for political reasons — that I wasn’t going to do it in Manhattan,” Hirschhorn said in the New York Times. “It has to be outside the center.” Many people live in poor circumstances in this neighbourhood with hardly any cultural offers. This project pays tribute to the Italian political theorist and Marxist Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937).
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Gramsci Monument is an outdoor pavilion constructed with easily available, everyday materials. The structure will be built—and later dismantled—by local residents of Forest Houses, coordinated by Hirschhorn. As was the case in his previous monuments, it is the artist’s intention that Gramsci Monument be built and run with the help of local residents, employed temporarily and involved at every stage of the project.
Gramsci Theater at the art pavillon "Gramsci Monument", 2013, Bronx, New York, Courtesy Dia Art Foundation, Foto: Romain Lopez
The structure will include an exhibition space, a library with books by (and about) Antonio Gramsci, a theater platform, a workshop area, a lounge, an internet corner, and the Gramsci Bar, which will be run by local residents. The Gramsci Monument will be open daily, offering a daily program of lectures, a children's workshop, a radio station, and a daily newspaper. There will be Art Workshops led by Hirschhorn, and field trips organized by Dia curator, Yasmil Raymond.
In order to be continuously present on location throughout the production of his artwork, Hirschhorn will temporarily reside in the South Bronx.
Gramsci Monument is the fourth and last in Thomas Hirschhorn’s series of “monuments” dedicated to major writers and thinkers, which he initiated in 1999 with Spinoza Monument (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), followed by Deleuze Monument (Avignon, France, 2000) and Bataille Monument (Kassel, Germany, 2002).
Over the years, Hirschhorn has maintained a commitment to presenting his work in exhibition spaces such as museums and galleries, but also in “public space”. Every work of Hirschhorn’s aims to include the Other, and address what he calls a “non-exclusive audience.”
Gramsci Bar at the art pavillon "Gramsci Monument", Courtesy Dia Art Foundation, Foto: Romain Lopez