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Memorial To A Marriage: The World’s First Marriage Equality Monument

November 3, 2022 @ 6:00 pm

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Artist Patricia Cronin and curator Eric Shiner discuss the world’s first and only monument to marriage equality 20 years after its creation.

Memorial To A Marriage (2002) is the first and only Marriage Equality monument in the world. Cronin created a three-ton Carrara marble, mortuary sculpture of herself and (now) wife, artist Deborah Kass, recumbent in an entwined embrace on a bed, when same sex marriage was illegal in the United States. Employing the American Neoclassical sculptural form to address a federal failure of prohibiting same sex couples to legally wed, she purchased their burial plot in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY a National Historic Landmark, and permanently installed the statue on their future final resting place. By acquiring her own land, she also addressed the scarcity of real women (as opposed to allegorical female forms) honored in public monuments.

Memorial To A Marriage (2002) has been exhibited in over 50 exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Scotland, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL, and Newcomb Art Museum, Tulane University, New Orleans, among others.

Bronze versions of the sculpture are in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, The Fuhrman Family Foundation, New York, Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami and Kelvingrove Art Museum and Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland. It is permanently on view in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Scotland.