PRINT July/August 2020



Tom Burr, Deep Purple, 2000, wood, steel, paint. Installation view, FRAC Champagne Ardenne, Reims, France. Photo: Aurélien Mole.

THE MUSEUEMS ARE CLOSED but the sculptures are still there. Memorials and monuments, too. If you’re in Lower Manhattan, you can ramble along the Irish Hunger Memorial’s serpentine path, a rugged simulacrum of peat and stone. I’ve never been to Ireland, but I take it that parts of it look like this. The strangeness of the work is its location in Battery Park City, where since 2002 it has sat like a souvenir between corporate towers, with the Hudson River stretching out to the west. Robert Smithson called certain of his sculptures “nonsites” to denote their difference from the sites whence they came: A pile of shale in a steel trough in the middle of a gallery stood as a nonsite to a quarry somewhere off in New Jersey. The Irish Hunger Memorial has always struck me as a massive nonsite, a memory displaced and brought over from elsewhere, now made even stranger since the host site

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