May 28

Citizens, Residents, and Monuments. A Debate

Citizens, Residents, and Monuments. A Debate
US Pavilion courtyard

Changes in citizenship are often reflected by changes in the public sphere, through the relative visibility and representation of individuals and groups. However, today, migration, temporary residencies and participation in various global communities have become the norm, challenging older modes of public representation—such as the form of the monument. Given that citizenship is not granted to all residents, how should claims to participation in the public sphere be negotiated today?

Presented by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism / AIADO in collaboration with the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago.


Samia Henni is an architect and an architectural historian and theorist who works at the intersection of architecture, planning, colonial practices, and military operations from the early 19th century up to the present day. Her book Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (Zurich: gta Verlag, 2017) examines French colonial territorial transformations and spatial counterinsurgency measures in Algeria under colonial rule during the Algerian Revolution (1954-1962). Henni recently curated the exhibition “Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria” which traveled to the gta Institute, ETH Zurich, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, and Archive Kabinett, Berlin from April 2017 to January 2018. She teaches in the School of Architecture at Princeton University.

Ana María León is trained as both an architect and an architecture historian. Her research focuses on the intersection of modernity, pedagogy, and politics in art and architecture, with special emphasis on networks between the Americas and Europe. León’s current project examines the housing projects of Catalan architect Antonio Bonet in Buenos Aires as mediators between the avant-garde’s fascination with the unconscious and the state’s mandate to control the crowds. León is currently Assistant Professor in History of Art at the University of Michigan.

Paola Nicolin is an art historian and curator with interest in the history of Modern and Contemporary art and architecture, museum studies, history of exhibitions, art education and the history of sculpture with expertise in artistic production, and cultural identity of the post-WWII period. Nicolin is founding director of the classroom, an art and educational center based in Milan ( She has contributed to Artforum since 2009 and is currently Editor-at-Large, Domus.

Alona Nitzan-Shiftan is an architect and architectural historian. Her field of study is the history, theory and criticism of twentieth century and contemporary architecture, with a focus on the politics of architecture and heritage, on art as urban intervention, and on critical historiography, particularly in Israel and the USA. Nitzan-Shiftan was the first chair of the Architecture Program at the Technion, the president of the European Architectural History Network (EAHN), and the co-chair of its third thematic conference, Histories in Conflict. She is currently a Visiting Professor in Modern and Contemporary Architecture at the University of Chicago.

Mechtild Widrich is the author of Performative Monuments The Rematerialisation of Public Art (Manchester UP, 2014). Widrich’s essays discuss monuments, commemoration and public space, activism, and performance and have appeared in Art Journal, Grey Room, JSAH, Texte zur Kunst, LOG, among others. She is currently finishing a manuscript on global art geographies, expanding today’s understanding of site specificity. She is Assistant Professor in the Art History, Theory and Criticism Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and lives in Chicago and Vienna.

This program is part of the Citizen Lab programming series and takes place in the US Pavilion courtyard.