Presented at US conventions and monuments
THE FUTURE melting away in New York City, September 21, 2014, during the Peoples’ Climate March
We call these sculptures temporary monuments. The monuments of MELTED AWAY are ideal markers for the opening decades in the 21st century – first, DEMOCRACY is broken, then, the ECONOMY ruined; the MIDDLE CLASS disappears, THE FUTURE is tenuous, THE AMERICAN DREAM vanishes, and TRUTH remains an open question.
The familiarity and materiality of ice create an accessible space. People approach the sculptures. They touch them in the urge to sense the bodily shift from solid to liquid; as if the sculpture itself were succumbing to a fever’s heat. They know that the strong, beautiful, physical presence they witness is elusive and fragile. Within hours, the sculptures totally disappear.
On September 22, 2018 artists LigoranoReese installed a 2500 pound sculpture of the word Truth carved in ice on the National Mall in front of the U.S. Capitol. Throughout the day, the word cracked and disappeared, a disquieting sign of how much things have changed and are changing in the normalcy of what has been the United States of America.
This time lapse video is compiled from over 8 hours of footage. The soundtrack includes statements of Donald Trump's over the past 2 years regarding the Russia investigation and obstruction of justice.
On January 20, 2018, the first anniversary of the Trump administration, conceptual artists LigoranoReese are melting a 2,000 pound ice sculpture of the word TRUTH in the garden of Jim Kempner Fine Art in New York City. The installation, TRUTH BE TOLD, symbolizes the emergence of an alternate fact world – where belief supplants truth.
The work will last for days, one week, possibly longer, an almost imperceptible disintegration that belies the force and speed at which the current administration is attempting to undermine the basic concepts of our nation’s history and governance.
TRUTH BE TOLD is the sixth sculpture of MELTED AWAY the temporary monuments series begun in 2006. In presenting these works the artists have discovered that melting ice is an ideal medium to depict the transformation of social values and semantic meaning. Art critic Robert Atkins has written, “The ice sculpture’s straightforward display conceals a rare capacity to elicit complex reactions and intense emotions demonstrating sculpture’s power to engage our bodily awareness.”
On January 20 of last year, we entered uncharted territory with no exact way to measure just how far away real ground truth lies. The monuments of MELTED AWAY are markers for the opening decades in the 21st century – first, DEMOCRACY is broken, then, the ECONOMY ruined; the MIDDLE CLASS disappears, THE FUTURE is tenuous, THE AMERICAN DREAM vanishes, and TRUTH remains an open question.
THE AMERICAN DREAM
THE AMERICAN DREAM, Republican National Convention, Cleveland, July 19, 2016
THE AMERICAN DREAM, Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, July 25, 2016
Live stream from Transformer Station at meltedaway.com, artseverywhere.ca,
The Streaming Museum, For Freedoms Exhibition at Jack Shainman Gallery, NYC and
Catharine Clark Gallery, SF American Dream is part of the Melted Away series, temporary monuments by LigoranoReese including the installations, The State of Things, Main Street Meltdown, Morning in America and Dawn of the Anthropocene 2008-2014 – performative sculptures carved in ice that combine natural processes of erosion and decay with flexible duration. These pieces make profound political statements using the simple element of disappearing ice and open forms to involve community interaction.
THE AMERICAN DREAM, Independence Mall, Philadelphia
Other Melted Away Monuments
ECONOMY, 79th Anniversary of the Depression, NY State Supreme Court
MIDDLE CLASS, Republican National Convention, Tampa 2012
THE FUTURE, Dawn of the Anthropocene, Flatiron, NYC, Peoples Climate March
DEMOCRACY, The State of Things
DEMOCRACY, Democratic National Convention, 2008
ECONOMY, Foley Square, in the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy "…LigoranoReese’s sculptures… start out as massive objects, weighing two tons, but by the end of the day they are no more than memories. The sculptures are constantly metamorphosing, changing shape at every moment… the pace picks up near the end as chunks drop off and gaping holes appear in them, creating poetic word plays with the remaining letters and parts of letters." – Charles Bernstein. Read commentary on The American Dream sculpture by poets Charles Bernstein, Erica Hunt and Edwin Torres
meltedaway.com is the online portal for Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese’s site-specific installations from 2008 to the present with time-lapse videos and stills. These temporary monuments made of ice are full of tension – no one ever really knows what will happen from beginning to end, which letters break first, how long the words last, or even if people will slip and crash into them. This art has no safety net.
LigoranoReese is the collaboration of artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese, a singular vision that fuses the two artists’ individual conceptual contributions into a powerful voice. Starting in the early 1980s, Ligorano/Reese’s work is an ongoing investigation into the impact of technology on culture and the associations and meanings that the media brings to images, languages, and speech. Their body of work is multidisciplinary, including limited edition multiples, videos, sculptures and installations which involve a range of materials and processes. The installations, The State of Things, Main Street Meltdown, Morning in America and Dawn of the Anthropocene 2008-2014 are performative sculptures carved in ice that combine natural processes of erosion and decay with flexible duration. These pieces make profound political statements using the simple element of disappearing ice and open forms to involve community interaction.
Works from 2000-the present reinterpret older forms of technology using mirrors, clocks, and codex bindings and video screens. In 2003, they invented micro-projection systems to display films on the head of a pin and on counterweights of metronomes. 50 Different Minds, their first fiber optic data tapestry debuted at the Zer01 Festival in San Jose in September 2010. It is a computer controlled, woven fiber optic wall piece that displays patterns and color through the textile’s threads from real-time internet data. The second data tapestry I•AM•I is a woven data portrait generating patterns based on an individual’s Fitbit data and responses to an emotional survey.
LigoranoReese have shown widely throughout their career, and are included in the public collections of many institutions, not limited to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; The New York Public Library, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. They have also been awarded multiple grants including the National Endowment for the Arts in 1986 and 1989, and have received artist residencies at Stichting Steim in Holland in 2000 and the Eyebeam Center for Art & Technology in New York in 2009, among others. Ligorano/Reese live and work in Brooklyn, New York and have been affiliated with Catharine Clark Gallery since 2010.