A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful

Rubin Museum of Art
New York, New York
2018

We live in a uniquely unsettled moment of technological, political, and social flux. Awash in endless currents of information delivered by glowing screens, each new headline brings a fresh opportunity for faith or despair depending upon our attitudes and philosophies. By definition, anxiety and hope are determined by a moment that has yet to arrive—but how often do we pause to fully consider our relationship with the future? What apprehensions, expectations, and stories define our field of vision, and how do our private sensibilities correlate with the collective mood?

A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful is a living catalogue of the ways in which we relate to the uncertainty of tomorrow. Visitors of the Rubin Museum of Art were invited to anonymously share their anxieties and hopes on vellum cards and hang them on the collective wall. On view for the duration of 2018, the installation grew into a monolithic barometer of the year where visitors could explore thousands of individual meditations that ranged from personal, local, and specific statements to political, theoretical, and spiritual reflections.

Over 55,000 responses were received: I’m anxious because… I feel so much responsibility in my own potential, our nation is more socially fragmented than before, I’m afraid of being yelled at online, my dad died and I’m afraid I’ll be sad forever. I’m hopeful because… I’m ready to fall in love again, he seems committed about his recovery, my mother is becoming more accepting of others, music saves my life a little every day. Chang and Reeves are now working with psychologists, sociologists, information designers, and researchers to examine the themes, what they say about us and our culture today, and strategies to weather the struggles of modern life.

2018, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, New York. Vellum, wood, acrylic, 31′ w x 12′ h. Project management by Jane Hsu. Exhibition design management by John Monaco. Installation assistance by Robert Paash, David Wilburn, Andrea Pemberton, and Muoi Ly.