Paul Farber

Paul M. Farber
William Wilson Corcoran Visiting Professor of Community Engagement, Social Practice
[email protected]


Paul M. Farber is Director and Co-Founder of Monument Lab. He also currently serves as Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Public Art & Space at the University of Pennsylvania.


Farber’s Monument Lab is the inaugural grantee of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s “Monuments Project,” a major initiative to “transform the way our country’s histories are told in public spaces,” including Monument Lab’s National Monument Audit and the opening of Re:Generation field offices throughout the country. 


Farber's research and curatorial projects explore transnational urban history, cultural memory, and creative approaches to civic engagement. He is author of A Wall of Our Own: An American History of the Berlin Wall (University of North Carolina Press, 2020) which tells the untold story of a group of American artists and writers (Leonard Freed, Angela Davis, Shinkichi Tajiri, and Audre Lorde) who found refuge along the Berlin Wall and in Cold War Germany in order to confront political divisions back home in the United States. He is also co-editor with Ken Lum of Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia (Temple University Press, 2019), a public art and history handbook designed to generate new critical ways of thinking about and building monuments.


In addition to his work with Monument Lab, Farber served as curator for the inaugural Artist-in-Residence Program at the Office of the District Attorney of Philadelphia (2020), keynote speaker for the Americans for the Arts national conference (2020), and Scholar in Residence at Mural Arts Philadelphia (2015–2017). He serves as an advisor to numerous monument and memorial projects around the country including for the City of Newark and the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.


Farber has edited and contributed to numerous art and history publications. He edited a new critical edition of photographer Leonard Freed’s Made in Germany (Steidl Verlag, 2013), co-edited a special issue of the journal Criticism on HBO's series, The Wire (Wayne State University Press, 2011), and contributed essays and advised the production of numerous visual culture books including Leonard Freed's This Is the Day: The March on Washington (Getty Publications, 2013), Nathan Benn's Kodachrome Memory: American Pictures 1972-1990 (powerHouse, 2013), and Jamel Shabazz's Pieces of a Man (ArtVoices, 2016). He has been invited to lecture and lead workshops for the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. His work on culture has also previously appeared in The Guardian, Brooklyn Rail, Al Jazeera, Museums & Social Issues, Diplomatic History, Art & the Public Sphere, Vibe, and on NPR. 


Farber earned a PhD and MA in American Culture from the University of Michigan and a BA in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.


Community Engagement

Photo credit: Naomieh Jovin

Watch Paul Farber's talk at the Corcoran about monuments, public memory, and civic imagination from October 2021. Dr. Farber shared insights from the recent Monument Lab National Monument Audit, produced in partnership with the Mellon Foundation, a groundbreaking study of this country's monument landscape.