When Political Signs Become Art: Monument to the Unelected

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Though the election has been over for more than a month, yard signs still dot houses around the land. Trump/Pence. Clinton/Kaine. Humphrey/Muskie?

In November, the lawn in front of the Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, looked a bit like it belonged to an extremely overzealous voter. In reality, Lefferts was the latest host of an art installation called “Monument to the Unelected,” a look at conquered candidates dating back to John Adams’s run against Thomas Jefferson in 1796.

Created by artist Nina Katchadourian, the 50-odd political signs have appeared in several locations around the country. Though many of the names are centuries old, the signs are designed to look fairly contemporary—Katchadourian creates them herself out of plastic sheets. That includes the latest addition to the collection, a blue sign emblazoned with “I’m With Hillary 2016.” And while you’d be forgiven for thinking the project is a response to the mania surrounding the 2016 election, Katchadourian created it in 2008 as a commission for the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

“Of course, it’s a project about politics and history, but it doesn’t take a position on who should win any given election,” Katchadourian told The New Yorker. The monument, rather, is “a statement of fact—it’s what we have collectively done, up until now.”

In an artist's statement, she added, “At a time when the country was preoccupied with the ‘fork in the road’ moment of a major national election, the piece presented a view of the country's collective political road not taken.”

“Monument to the Unelected” left Brooklyn shortly after the election, but will surely appear again in about three years. If you see an “Aaron Burr is my president” yard sign, you’ll know you’re in the right place.

[h/t: The New Yorker]