v.1 is RISD’s student-led publication. Its form and content change from year to year (it’s always “volume 1”).

Info & Submission Guidelines ︎

Pandemic Publishing ︎

  1. Call for Submissions, SOS Edition
  2. 3.29.20 Irina V. Wang
  3. Let Yourself Be Lifted Jackie Scott
  4. Art Is Everything Jen Liese
  5. Two Poems Ella Rosenblatt
  6. Living Room Dance Party Ariel Wills
  7. On Walking When Walking Is Advised Against Keavy Handley-Byrne
  8. Untitled Cita Devlin
  9. Ads in Corona Hannah Oatman
  10. COVID-19 and Communitas Elaine Lopez
  11. A Time for Pie Elizabeth Burmann
  12. How to Stay Motivated When You’re Stuck at Home Clarisse Angkasa
  13. Coerced Harmony (A Tour) Hammad Abid
  14. Zooming In and Out Tongji Philip Qian
  15. [Form] Ciara Carlyle
  16. Hi.txt Dan Luo
  17. A poem about boredom, a composite Maixx Culver-Hagins
  18. Eyewitness News Tristram Lansdowne
  19. Distance Maps Marcus Peabody
  20. Therapeutic Suggestion Maria Aliberti Lubertazzi
  21. Keep Your Heart Six Feet Away From Mine (and other moments) Arielle Eisen
  22. Twenty Instructions for COVID-19 Charlott Isobel Dazan
  23. Cuerno 1 y 2 Yan Diego Estrella Wilson
  24. A Monolith of Grief Regarding the Absence of Touches, or Letter to a Future Lover García Sinclair
  25. Coronavirus by the Thousands Drew Dodge
  26. Two Poems Kathryn Li
  27. Beds Are Burning Aleks Dawson
  28. Still Lifes Yidan Wang
  29. Fragments of Seva Jagdeep Raina
  30. Packing Up and Staying Woojin Kim
  31. Chronic Pain and Fermentation Ralph Davis
  32. Quarantine Letters Hannah Moore
  33. Sounds of Silence: An Isolation Soundscape Dara Benno
  34. 14 Day Detox for Designers Erica Silver

Winter 2020

  1. From the Editors
  2. The Phantom Audience, or How to “Really Do It” Asher White
  3. Some Dry Season(ing) / 5 Tales in an Embryo Room Yuqing Liu
  4. Throwing Salt, Constructing the Homeland Ariel Wills
  5. Infinity Balloon Man Jack Zhou
  6. Texas Triptych Ali Dipp
  7. Phenomenology of Bones Chris Shen
  8. Erlking Yiqun Zhou
  9. Trouble in Reality Elena Foraker
  10. Family Stories Gina Vestuti
  11. Treasure Reilly Blum

Fall 2019
  1. From the Editors
  2. Architecture and Its Ghosts Xuan Liu
  3. Fit/O!de Jeff Katz
  4. Desde La Chinaca y La China Poblana Ariel Wills
  5. Ballast Tiger Dingsun
  6. Love Letters Brenda Rodriguez
  7. The Anxieties of Plant-sitting Carol Demick
  8. Zadie & Teju Ariel Wills
  9. Smooth Stones Ali Dipp 
  10. Kantha’s Melodies Michelle Dixon
  11. Glory West Megan Solis
  12. The 50 Best Albums of the 2010s Asher White

Spring 2019

  1. From the Editors
  2. A Room without a View: Reflections on Studio Practice from a Privileged Poor Chantal Feitosa
  3. Between the Battlements Jeremy Wolin

  4. Accessing Color: Dissecting the Harvard Art Museum’s Forbes Pigment Collection Makoto Kumasaka
  5. British Club Tattoos Nasser Alzayani
  6. Making Space: Creativity and Resilience in War-Time Sri Lanka Elizabeth Dean Hermann
  7. How to Become Trans: A Proposal for the Modern-Day Gender-Agnostic Asher White
  8. Making It Up: A Conversation with Kent Kleinman Wen Zhuang
  9. “In Peace”: A Conversation with Matthew Shenoda Mays Albaik
  10. Suburbia_hours.mov Nora Mayer
  11. Negative Spaces Emily Wright
  12. Centerfold: Urgency Lab
  13. Rise Up: The Sunrise Movement Takes Root in Rhode Island Irina V. Wang
  14. After Strand Nafis White and García Sinclair
  15. Soldiers of Love? Karen Schiff
  16. Decoding Ghosts Molly Hastings
  17. An Annotated Bibliography Eli Backer
  18. Jesus, Marilyn, and Britney: Relationships between Religion and Celebrity Culture Nina Yuchi
  19. The Social (Antique) Network: Empathy in the Age of Digital Antiquing Zola Anderson
  20. My Little Episodes Michael Brandes
  21. Seeking Fair Game on Hidden Fields Reilly Blum
  22. The Should Be Here Is Not Here Joss Liao
  23. Index of Agency Sophie Chien
  24. Don’t Eat the Models Barbara Stehle
  25. Hypothetical Drink Personality Test: Who Said What, and When? Eliza Chen
  26. Dear Arabic Mohammed Nassem

Fall 2018 

  1. From the Editors
  2. How to Make a Person: A Recipe Mays Albaik
  3. Providence Votes Marcus Peabody
  4. Encounters with the Codex: Redefining Forms of Publication June Yoon
  5. How to Encounter a Puddle Anny Li
  6. A Brief List of Premises from a Maker Stuck with Paper, Politics, and Performance Yasi Alipour
  7. Art Writing and the Place of the “I” Randy Kennedy
  8. Written in Stone: Lineage, Legacy, and Letterforms Irina V. Wang
  9. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being (a Graphic Designer) Tiger Dingsun
  10. Colliers/Necklaces Théïa Flynn
  11. When One Door Closes: Examining Issues of Space and Student Curation on Campus Wen Zhuang
  12. Addressing the Empty Plinth: Lessons from Gallery Shows and Public Art Jeremy Wolin
  13. Modern Usage: In Conversation with Remeike Forbes Eliza Chen and Tiger Dingsun
  14. Dangling Threads: Remaining Unclear in Capital Everett Epstein
  15. A Vagabond Viking Voyage and Midsummer Daydream Mike Fink
  16. Everything is Interdependent Angela Dufresne
  17. La Bolita Elaine Lopez
  18. Bread Day Olive B. Godlee
  19. Against the Archive Satpreet Kahlon

2017 - 2018 

  1. Birds, Bees, and Beyond: The Nature Lab Evolves
  2. Concrete Mixer Drum Solo
  3. Negative Spaces
  4. “Printer Prosthetics” at NYABF
  5. On Writing: Nader Tehrani and Katie Faulkner
  6. On Writing: Marie Law Adams and Dan Adams
  7. On Writing: Kunlé Adeyemi
  8. Connecting Food and Design
  9. Remixing Architectural Discourse
  10. Genesis : 1: Beret Shit
  11. “No voy a actuar en el mundo antes de entenderlo”: Una conversación con Alfredo Jaar
  12. “I Will Not Act in the World Before Understanding the World”: A Conversation with Alfredo Jaar
  13. Imagining Irmgard
  14. Afterwords: Bite
  15. Afterwords: Portals
  16. Afterwords: Calendar
  17. Seeking Drafts

Addressing the Empty Plinth:
Lessons from Gallery Shows and Public Art

Jeremy Wolin (BIA 2019)

Illustration by the author.

This past September, a retrospective of the work of British sculptor Rachel Whiteread opened at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Whiteread is well-known for casting the negative spaces created by objects as small as a toilet paper tube and as large as a house, pushing the boundaries of the medium in the process. The show winds through Whiteread’s work chronologically, starting with her earliest explorations of space and highlighting her most high-profile sculptures, including Ghost (1990), a plaster cast of a North London parlor, and House (1993), the temporary concrete vestige of a demolished East London terrace house.

At the show’s end sits a maquette, about three feet tall, of Whiteread’s Monument (2001), the third installment of the Royal Society of Arts’ Fourth Plinth Project. The project began in 1998 as an effort to temporarily inhabit the lone empty plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, a pedestal left open since its construction in 1841 due to a combination of insufficient funds and controversy over whom to memorialize at that location. Whiteread’s two predecessors, Mark Wallinger and Bill Woodrow, each alluded to social themes in their works, but both fell back on the male figure or bust as a means of symbolizing humanity. Whiteread’s intervention signified new territory. Visible in the show’s documentation images and in the maquette itself, her gesture inverted the base in both form and materiality, recreating a replica of the solid plinth in cast resin and placing it upside-down on the original to create a mirror image.

The removal of Confederate monuments throughout the United States, increasingly frequent since the Charleston church shooting and Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, has provided many municipalities with empty plinths like that of Trafalgar Square. Under an hour’s drive from the National Gallery, the city of Baltimore, Maryland, removed four statues in summer 2017, leaving four open platforms. Earlier that year, New Orleans officials removed three monuments amid protest, resulting in similarly unresolved plinths. This past August, students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, pulled down a Confederate soldier themselves, one year after activists in neighboring Durham toppled that city’s statue.

Whiteread’s Monument is not alone in alluding to the diverse potentials of these newly empty spaces. By 2001 and even much earlier, the plinth already stood as a relic of an earlier era. Modernists, like Constantin Brancusi, subsumed it into their sculpture, Minimalists discarded it in favor of a more direct relationship between the viewer and the work. With Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the plinth became old-fashioned in more populist monumentation as well. Yet plinths remain in the built environment, supporting monuments that long outlive their makers. Instead of decisively answering the question of what to do with the space atop this outdated object, Whiteread forgoes the statue and materializes the absence in its place.

Though undoubtedly the photos and maquette of Monument do not compare to experiencing the work in person, their presence in the National Gallery alludes to the roles of documentation and proposal materials in exposing such works to a wider public. Artist sketches and renderings often lack the awe of built works, but have the power to distort the image to create highly curated messages about the artist’s intent. The space of the proposal also allows for the communication of works too impractical, too expensive, or too provocative to build in full physical form. This, in a way, makes the proposal a more democratic monument.

Several years after Whiteread’s installation, the CCA Wattis Institute of Contemporary Art in San Francisco mounted the exhibition Monuments for the USA. A collection of proposals for new monuments, the show included more than sixty artists from the US and abroad. A replica of Trafalgar Square’s empty plinth appeared in Italian-British artist Enrico David’s contribution to the show, Monument to Pepper LaBeija. Working across mediums, David often produces figures distorted into shapes that verge on the sinister or uncomfortable. In this work, David takes the monumental vocabulary of a statue atop a plinth and replaces the white heterosexual man with an African American drag queen in a gold lamé gown. LaBeija, of the Harlem drag ball House of LaBeija, was immortalized for a wider public by Jennie Livingston’s 1991 documentary Paris is Burning. In David’s rendering, she stands out against a backdrop of Lever House, a building located where Midtown East meets the Upper East Side and which symbolizes a certain New York elite. Miles from where the the House of LaBeija operated, David’s placement of LaBeija against this backdrop signifies a transplantation of Black queer culture into the center of wealthy, white New York. Rather than remove the sculptural base altogether, David reclaims it, siting a figure of his own admiration in its place of public honor.

A decade later, as part of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s Monument Lab, Philadelphia-based artist Karyn Olivier proposed another answer to the question of plinths. In The Battle Is Joined, Olivier wraps the city’s Battle of Germantown monument in mirrored acrylic, creating a reflective surface. Here, Olivier reverses the viewer’s gaze toward the solid stone with a view outward. In its existing state, the monument had become easily ignored, no longer representative of the collective memory of the neighborhood’s new communities. With Olivier’s mirrors applied, the plinth reflects the neighborhood around it. The material also makes the plinth disappear slightly at a distance, only revealing its scale when viewers are close enough to see themselves in the monument’s skin.

While Olivier constructed the mirrored shell that encased the Battle of Germantown monument in summer 2017, Black Youth Project 100 was protesting New York’s J. Marion Sims Monument. Sims was a well-known surgeon in the 1800s, known as the “father of modern gynecology.” Referencing Sims’s inhumane practice of performing experimental surgeries on enslaved women without anesthesia, four activists donned medical gowns and splashed themselves in red dye while chanting “Fuck white supremacy.” Their protests lent a visual display of anger toward the monument and the memory it carried, contributing to a long history of protest at its site.

Black Youth Project 100’s creative activation of the Sims monument serves as a counterpoint to Olivier and Whiteread in forgoing institutional support when working in public space. All three, however, complicate the idea of public space as more accessible than a gallery or museum setting. Each entailed the navigation of complex bureaucracies and laws governing public assembly that required varying levels of temporality for each activation. This limited the lifespan of Olivier and Whiteread’s works to months; for BYP100, minutes. After de-installation, each lives on through documentation, not unlike David’s first rendering of Pepper LaBeija, relying on photographs, video, and personal retellings to persist for what artist and writer Suzanne Lacy calls “the audience of myth and memory.”

Eight months after BYP100’s protest, the statue of Sims was removed from its plinth and relocated to Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, the lone casualty arising out of the Mayoral Advisory Commission that formed in fall 2017 to evaluate New York’s monuments (its purview included statues to Christopher Columbus and Teddy Roosevelt as well). Throughout summer 2018, the plinth stood on Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, devoid of its figure but still bearing his name and accomplishments etched into the stone face. A solitary plaque tells of Sims’s removal and alludes to the creation of a new sculpture in its place, but erases the history of protest at the site. In its emptiness, the plinth speaks volumes. In its presence, it remains a question left unanswered.

Jeremy Wolin is in his fifth year of the Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program and is writing a thesis in American Studies on exhibitions of artist-made monuments.