At the corner of Montrose and Manhattan Avenues in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Professor Halsey Rodman and Pam Lins noticed a gigantic rock that was placed in a parking space during construction prior to work stoppages from COVID-19. As a means of paying homage to the loss the city was experiencing during the COVID-19 lockdown, they deemed the boulder “THE ROCK” and transformed it into a pedestal for a shifting array of artwork by Rodman and Lins as well as other contributors.
Writing in The Brooklyn Rail, Peter Brock commented, “This humble pedestal gives space to a public expression of grief, hope, and resilience, in a city that has experienced many layers of loss. This fluid monument belongs to a generation of self-organized public memorials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.”
He continues, “THE ROCK also rejects the conventional understanding of value as it pertains to an artwork. The commercial art world is built on the conception that artworks are private property, things that can be purchased and owned. Individualism is at the core of this system. In other words, it matters greatly who produced it, and who bought it. THE ROCK, on the other hand, is a collective gesture. Gluing works to a large rock on a street corner firmly asserts that their value is social, and they belong in public.”