Nina Katchadourian: Monument to the Unelected

a suburban front yard with colorful elections signs that list the names of all those who ran for US president and lost

Nina Katchadourian: Monument to the Unelected (2008 and ongoing)

October 6 through November 17, 2020

LOCATION: Monument to the Unelected is viewable on the lawn at 896 S. Oakwood St. Orange, CA 92869

PLEASE NOTE: Our advance thanks to visiting patrons for their respect to the property, neighbors and surrounding neighborhood, and works included in the installation.

Grand Central Art Center is pleased to present Nina Katchadourian’s Monument to the Unelected, exhibiting in Orange County, CA, from October 6 through November 17, 2020 on the lawn at 896 S. Oakwood St. Orange, CA 92869. This temporary installation, consisting of 58 signs bearing the names of losing candidates from every presidential election in American history, coincides with this year’s presidential election. Once results are official, a new 59th sign with the name of the losing candidate of the 2020 Presidential Election will be added.

Katchadourian was initially commissioned by the Scottsdale Museum of Art and curator Cassandra Coblentz to create a new work around the time of the 2008 presidential election.  The artist became interested in the plastic election signs sprouting up on front lawns, vacant lots, and at busy intersections around Scottsdale, Arizona. She states, “These markers tend to crop up in the weeks leading up to an election, after which they disappear, with some of the names going on to take office and others being largely forgotten.” The signs also struck her as an American tradition of sorts and with an aesthetic all their own.

Working with designer Evan Gaffney, Katchadourian created a series of signs bearing the names of individuals who ran for president and lost. Each sign was made in a contemporary design vernacular, even if it advertised a candidate from previous centuries. None of the signs are designs used in the candidates’ actual election campaigns. Many of the signs borrow directly from the designs of signs that she documented in Scottsdale; others are modeled on signs seen in other parts of the country. All the signs are printed on corrugated plastic using similar commercial production methods as typical election lawn signs.

At this moment, when the country is deeply preoccupied with a major national election, Monument to the Unelected serves as a reminder of the country’s collective political road not taken. It does not reflect any particular political viewpoint or endorse any specific party, but does highlight the US history for peaceful transition of power. Monument to the Unelected has been exhibited nationally during the past three presidential election cycles, usually spanning a period before and after the election that allows for the addition the losing candidate’s name.

This election cycle the work will be shown in seven locations nationwide simultaneously – PACE, New York; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; MOCA Cleveland and Transformer Station, OH; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), AZ; Abrahamson Family Trust of Madison, WI; Roots Community Health Center, Oakland; and Grand Central Art Center. In the last three instances, “Monument” will be installed in the front yards of residential homes.

GCAC expresses our sincere gratitude to Deb and Jon Webb for providing their front lawn as installation site for the 2020 showing of Monument to the Unelected. We thank visiting patrons for your respect to the Webb’s property, their neighbors and surrounding neighborhood, and the work included in the installation.

image credit: Nina Katchadourian, Monument to the Unelected (2020 installation), Organized by Grand Central Art center on the lawn at 896 S. Oakwood St. Orange, CA 92869