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William A. and Gael Crimmins papers and photos on Monumenta

Historical note

Monumenta was an outdoor modern art exhibit held in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1974. It consisted of fifty-four sculptures which had been created by forty different artists, including Christo, Willem De Koonig, Kosso Eloul, Richard Fleischner, Anne Healy, and James Rosati. The sculptures were loaned to Monumenta on a temporary basis for the sole purpose of the exhibit, which was open to the public from August 17 to October 13, 1974.

The exhibit spanned ten different locations around Newport, including Bowens Wharf, Brick Market Place, Chateau-sur-Mer, the Elms, King’s Beach, various locations on Ocean Drive, and Perrotti Park. Some of these sites were public areas owned by the state and town, while others were owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County. William Crimmins, a resident of Newport, organized the exhibit, and Sam Hunter, a professor of art from Princeton, was the director.

Monumenta’s 30th anniversary was commemorated in 2004 in a month-long celebration called Re:Monumenta. Four local arts and cultural organizations – Project One, Island Moving Company, Island Arts, and Salve Regina University – presented a series of lectures, dance performances, public sculpture and gallery exhibitions. The exhibition Monumenta Redux, held at the Island Arts Gallery during the month of September 2004, presented reproductions of photographs, sketches, press clippings and memorabilia related to the original show. Re:Monumenta called the public’s attention back to the importance of the fifty-four sculptures that once stood throughout Newport.