MANIAC presents (EDIT) The Uncertain States of America, an exhibition of new work by six contemporary emerging West Coast artists working in social or political fashions from the metropolitan bases on the West Coast including San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles. As an addendum to the 2006 internationally traveled exhibition The Uncertain States of America, EDIT presents new work from Chris Sollars, Mads Lynnerup, NDFTBK, Erin Allen and Taha Belal.
What has been debated as either overtly aggressive or simply decorative, (in regards to the political in American contemporary art), much of contemporary political art has found its roots in disassociation with the real (as experienced with the 'shock and awe' broadcasts of 2003), and its footing in a certain disillusionment with the past (finding protest as a method and collective voice being deviant more than unified). The six contemporary artists presented in this exhibition express consideration for the social/political landscape by various methods including: direct action (Mads Lynnerup), visual statement (Chris Sollars), plans for fantastical alternatives (NDFTBK), communicative revisions (Taha Belal), and the exposing an imaginative personal interior (Erin Allen).
The West Coast, notable in its revolutionary politics and at times criticized for its prescribed liberalism, has historically provided a distinct political platform for artists working in the region. It is in this light that contemporary art working with socio-political themes on the West Coast takes on an approach all of its own: a philosophy held in nature as instigative and historically counterculture, while working on and with the fringe of societal norms.
The original measure of international curators Birnbaum, Obrist, and Kvararn's The Uncertain States of America (2006) traveling exhibition was one scoping the perspectives of the three European curators in the field of new American art. Two years and over 500 studio visits to conclude on the deemed inconclusive traveling exhibition and The Uncertain States of America was born.
(EDIT) The Uncertain States of America presents a secondary sourcing for the original exhibition on the West Coast: a zigzagged lineage is presented, while retaining its inconclusive ends and preparing for the well-considered topics that suggests America has entered a complex state of philosophical reconstruction once again.
MANIAC is directed by Petra Royale Bibeau.
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MANIAC is located at 387 17th Street, between Franklin and Webster Streets in Downtown Oakland. BART: 19th Street Exit, walk two blocks east.