Public Works

A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful

We live in an unsettled moment of technological, political, and cultural flux. Awash in endless currents of information delivered by glowing screens, each new headline brings a fresh opportunity for faith or despair. By definition, anxiety and hope are determined by a moment that has yet to arrive. How do our private apprehensions and expectations for tomorrow square 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.

Now on view at the Rubin Museum of Art throughout 2018, this participatory installation invites visitors to share their anxieties and desires on vellum cards and hang them on the wall. This ongoing collaboration with Candy Chang will grow into a monolithic barometer where visitors can glean the prevailing mood while they explore thousands of responses that range from personal and local reflections to broader political and spiritual statements.


James A. Reeves is a writer, designer, and educator. He frequently collaborates with the artist Candy Chang on public installations that address the role of ritual in these days of flux. His first book, The Road to Somewhere, was published by W. W. Norton after traveling 50,000 miles along the back roads of America. He is currently finishing a novel, Riot and Devotion, a meditation on violence and compassion. Since 2004, he has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in design history, philosophy, and visual culture at Bard Early College, Pratt Institute, and Parsons School of Design. More»