This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

David Shrigley’s “Memorial” is a monument to memory, shopping lists, and monuments themselves (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Scholars’ Gate, Doris C. Freedman Plaza
Central Park entrance, 60th St. & Fifth Ave.
Through February 12, free

In 2008, British artist David Shrigley made “Gravestone,” a granite slab, shaped like a gravestone, on which he carved the words “Bread / Milk / Cornflakes / Baked Beans / Tomatoes / Aspirin / Biscuits” in gold, a memorial to the shopping list. That year he also created “Gate,” a rectangle with geometric shapes that warned passersby, “Do not linger at the gate.” He has now combined the two in “Memorial,” a seventeen-foot-tall granite shopping list that stands at the Scholars’ Gate entrance to Central Park, in Doris C. Freedman Plaza. Inspired by the mysterious 1980 Georgia Guidestones, the forty-eight-year-old painter, sculptor, photographer, illustrator, cartoonist, spoken-word artist, and self-described list lover includes twenty-five items on “Memorial,” from Crackers, Cheese, Peanut Butter, and Ketchup to Tampons, Shower Gel, Cleaning Stuff, and Nutella. There is no text on the back. The Public Art Fund project memorializes the death of the handwritten shopping list in the digital age while also standing as a public monument to memory. In a 2016 text-based drawing, Shrigley wrote, “I am a signwriter / I write signs / I do not decide what the signs say / My job is just to write the signs and nothing more.” That is, of course, an absurdist take on the role of the artist, emblematic of the Turner Prize nominee’s playfully strange oeuvre that incorporates elements of the mundane and the everyday, such as “The Artist,” a robotic head with pens coming out of its nose, drawing on a sheet of paper; “Hanging Sign,” a hanging sign on which is written “Hanging Sign”; the bronze sculpture “Lady Doing a Poop,” a “Thinker”-like statue of, well, a woman going number two; and “How Are You Feeling?,” a 2012 High Line billboard consisting of a conversation in word bubbles. If nothing else, “Memorial” reminded me that I needed to do a little shopping myself; I also suddenly wanted a nutella waffle from the nearby Wafels & Dinges cart.

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