“It’s good to think about this country’s complicated history right now,” artist Nina Katchadourian told Hyperallergic, just a few minutes before she placed the 2016 addition to her “Monument to the Unelected” installation on the lawn of the Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park. It’s the project’s 59th sign created for the runner-up to every American presidential campaign.
The structure itself, an 18th-century Dutch farmhouse, is a reminder of the long, complex societal history of New York City, especially as two candidates with deep connections in the area conclude their turbulent campaign. Today’s dreary weather and small, quiet group of reporters contributed to a somber mood as Katchadourian placed a sign emblazoned with “I’m with Hillary 2016” on the rebar poles in the ground.
As Hrag Vartanian reported earlier this week for Hyperallergic, she started the project in 2008, including the runners-up from that election (McCain/Palin), and revisited it in 2012 (Romney/Ryan). “I’m really committed to showing this four years from now, no matter what,” she added, although noted that this year it was “more timely than ever.” The ultimate goal of the project, which she describes as “politically neutral,” is to “think about what we’ve done, and think about it again.”
Indeed, it’s tempting to imagine a different reality when instead of the Clinton sign is one for Trump. Each of the signs represents another path for the country, whether an Al Gore victory in 2000, or Aaron Burr in 1800. “Monument to the Unelected” will stay on view this weekend, where pedestrians walking down Flatbush Avenue, spying the work through the fence, or visitors within Prospect Park, can witness this visual narrative of American alternate histories.
Nina Katchadourian: Monument to the Unelected continues at the Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park through November 13.