M+B is pleased to announce an exhibition of photography curated by the artist Matthew Porter. Titled BEDTIME FOR BONZO, the exhibition will be on view from December 11, 2010 to January 29, 2011.
Participating artists include Walead Beshty, Gil Blank, Matthew Brandt, Andrew Bush, Eduardo Consuegra, Moyra Davey, Arthur Ou, Matthew Spiegelman, James Welling, Hannah Whitaker and Mark Wyse.
Like a river that returns every year to its floodplain, our politics and entertainment can be expected to return to the preceding decades for material. In particular, much of the recent rhetoric from the mid-term elections echoed the eight years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Viewing Jimmy Carter’s famous 1979 “Malaise Speech” as a herald of the 80s, this show presents a selection of images that, when stripped of their original contexts, serve as both index and icon for a decade best defined by a sententious leader. They can also be seen, in the decade before the Internet, as a late-century analog swansong. This is the Eisenhower era in color, with a technological upgrade. The confection-coated green and silky whites of the suburbs look saccharine next to rust-belt towns in decay—evidence of the simultaneous achievement and dismantling of the American dream.
Bedtime for Bonzo is a 1951 film starring Ronald Reagan as a moralizing pedagogue intent on meliorating a chimpanzee’s understanding of right and wrong. If the images on the walls feel equally didactic, remember that this is a show about the 80s, when subtlety was traded for over-dramatic hyperbole.
Matthew Porter (b. 1975, State College, Pennsylvania) received his B.F.A. from Bard College and an MFA from the Bard-ICP for Advanced Photographic Studies. His work has recently been exhibited in New York, Miami, Paris and Dallas and featured in the New York Times Magazine, Modern Painters, VMan and Exit. Porter is the recipient of Photo District News’ 30 “New and Emerging Photographs” in 2004 and was most recently chosen as one of five artists included in the inaugural “New Perspectives 2010” exhibition at the International Center of Photography (New York City). Matthew Porter is represented by M+B and lives and works in Brooklyn.