A Sorry Kind of Wisdom
New York (July 1, 2008) There are those who are preparing to divide
us—the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics
of "anything goes." Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal
America and a conservative America—there is the United States of
America… We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars
and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. In the
end—in the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate
in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in a politics of hope?
At the dawn of the November presidential election, politics is on the tip of everyone's tongues, omnipresent on a worldwide level. Finally it seems change is inevitable. Drawing from the infamous phrase Barack Obama coined at his keynote address, this exhibition examines the question and the notion of a "politics of change", of the state of political consciousness and attitude through the lens of specific works made by a small group of international artists.
Daniel Rich shows a painterly appropriated image of the Kurdish headquarters in Iraq – referencing a building that was seriously damaged during the ongoing war. Politics and history are inscribed in the painting yet are hermetically caught in the interplay of difference and repetition. Kamrooz Aram's work manifests an ongoing dialogue between various visual sources from East and West, art history and contemporary culture, causing ideologically clichéd images to collapse. Michael Brown's comment on consumer culture is executed as a monumentalized version of leisure furniture in stainless steel and polished Budweiser cans; Durant's Proposal for a monument to Huey Newton is another symbolically loaded piece of furniture, an unsolicited proposal that draws attention to a figure important in American history but not present in the canon of national heroes. Katrina Moorhead's sculpture Draumalandid, RedGreenBluePeony presents the rebuilt remnants of fireworks, the trace of a burnt out Dreamland perhaps.
The exhibition does not seek to answer the question of whether or not we participate in a politics of cynicism or in a politics of hope, but rather to reflect upon and look at the vast space in-between and draw attention to the flexibility of seemingly fixed notions and the possibility to change the status quo.
Concurrently on view at Perry Rubenstein's 534 W 24th Street gallery is Empty Pockets, the U.S. premiere of Robin Rhode's new digital animation.