Temporary Monuments from the Impermanent Cold

LigoranoReese, Dawn of the Anthropocene, NYC, 2014

LigoranoReese are panelists on the upcoming Raw Hope of Humanity Rising public dialogue, Wednesday, March 4, 6-7:30pm at the American University Museum in Washington DC, & online via the Third Space Network. Additional panelists are: Roberto Bedoya & Renee Stout, moderated by Randall Packer. 


“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.”

We are living in tenuous times, when it seems THE FUTURE is in fact melting away before our very eyes with the onslaught of climate change, the Coronavirus, TRUMPological demagoguery, and a host of other frighting apocalyptic conditions threatening the deterioration of human existence. Marshall Reese & Nora Ligorano, known as the collaborative art duo LigoranoReese, have been creating Temporary Monuments for the past twelve years, ice sculptures that invoke fragility & loss of the world we live in, works that inevitably melt, break & vanish into the ether.

LigoranoReese, The State of Things, St Paul, 2008

LigoranoReese have harnessed in the Temporary Monuments the cathartic power of the ephemeral & impermanence of ice as sculptural material. The State of Things, the sculpture they installed in St Paul, Minnesota during the 2008 Republican National Convention, was a response to eight tumultuous years of the Bush Administration. The vanishing DEMOCRACY work was as timely then as it is now, as we see a recurrence of the erosion of democratic principles through the effects of propaganda and disinformation: from the War in Iraq during the Bush years to the invitation of foreign election interference in TRUMPological times. What is so effective about this form of artistic mediation, is the way in which the viewer, young or old, has a visceral experience of melting ice embodying the disappearance of democratic principles & diminishing values.

LigoranoReese, Truth be Told, National Mall Washington DC, 2018

Despite the impermanent nature of their ice sculptures, the work becomes an invitation to the viewer to take part in the melting, to look closely, to touch, and to participate in their breakage and eventual disappearance. The sculptures are as intangible as they are visceral, the cold, brittle surfaces ignite reaction & wonder, suspending disbelief, as the artists describe, to involve the audience directly in the experience of loss. There is a theatricality to this process, as though the fluid, changing role of the ice-protagonist falls to earth in an unfolding ritual performance in time & space.

LigoranoReese, The American Dream, Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, 2018

Art exists as a model, a representation for thinking about social and political conditions in ways that are unique and separate from the world of politics. However, LigoranoReese often insert their work into the political space as quiet accompaniment to the intense media hype that surrounds the national conventions. Far from the buzz & hype of the circus-like atmosphere of the cavernous convention arena, with its hyperactive delegates, political hacks, prognosticators & spin doctors, the Temporary Monument provides a reflective moment in its cold impermanence: inducing an atmosphere that allows the artistic statement to have its moment in the hot illumination of the sun.


LigoranoReese are panelists on the upcoming Raw Hope of Humanity Rising public dialogue, Wednesday, March 4, 6-7:30pm at the American University Museum in Washington DC, & online via the Third Space Network. Additional panelists are: Roberto Bedoya & Renee Stout, moderated by Randall Packer.