Washington Post Offices Hosting “Monument to the Unelected” at Height of Election Season

Nina Katchadourian first debuted her “Monument to the Unelected,” an installation of election placards for all 56 unsuccessful U.S. presidential campaigns, at the time of the 2008 White House race in Arizona as part of an exhibition at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. This election season she’s taking the piece to the capital, where it will be on display in the street-level windows of the Washington Post’s offices.

The piece’s second presentation, at 1150 15th Street, NW from September 10-November 16, is the work of the Washington Project for the Arts, one of the city’s foremost contemporary art non-profits.

“During a time like this, signs endorsing various candidates begin appearing on people’s lawns or in windows,” Katchadourian said in a statement, “and I thought it would be interesting to imagine an entirely different set of names in the landscape that might cause a viewer to do a double-take, even to wonder for a moment, ‘Wait-what YEAR is this?'”

“There are many names on the signs that will be utterly unfamiliar; there are also candidates who are very well-known because they did become president later, or because they had been president but ran again unsuccessfully,” Katchadourian noted at the time of the work’s original presentation on a front lawn in Scottsdale. “In many different ways, the project plays with the blank spots in our knowledge of American history.”

She did not specify whether or not a future installation of the work would include a Mitt Romney campaign placard.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Image courtesy Nina Katchadourian.)