DC -- Touchstone Gallery -- Exhibit: America Is...:
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Description of Pictures: AMERICA IS ...
Artists Explore, Ask and Answer: What is America today?
National Juried Show
On display: August 2 – 29, 2019
* Rachel Adams, Chief Curator and Director of Programs, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, NE)
* Taylor Bythewood-Porter, Assistant History Curator, California African American Museum
* Jen Mergel, Independent Curator, previously Vice-President, Programs, Association of Art Museum Curators; Founding Director, Curatorial Network Accelerator of Boston
* Jennifer M. Williams, Public Programs Manager, New Orleans Museum of Art
Touchstone Gallery presents its third national juried exhibition following the success of "Art as Politics" in 2016 and "Art of Engagement” in 2017. This year artists from across the United States confront the question of how we define our national identity and values during a time of divisive politics and great social change. Four jurors from across the nation have selected the works of artists who best address this question.
“Contemporary artists . . . have the vision, creativity and talent to help us see and appreciate the complexities and possibilities that we otherwise wouldn’t,” says Boston-based juror Jen Mergel, previously Vice President, Programs, of Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC), who recently was The Armory Show Curator of Platform and before that served as the Beal Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Ms. Mergel also added: “There is no single or simple answer to what “America Is.” “The selected artists are contributing to the conversation of how diverse this nation is today, employing a variety of techniques and concepts,” adds juror Rachel Adams, newly appointed Chief Curator and Director of Programs at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, NE). What stands out in this show, according to juror Taylor Bythewood-Porter, an Assistant History Curator at the California African American Museum (CAAM), is “the range of works submitted and the topics they address … from issues around climate change to immigration, from forgotten Americana to marveling at the everyday.”
In this exhibition, there are works related to many national issues -- political corruption, constitutional crisis, racism, stereotypes of immigrants, police violence, climate change, women’s rights, drug addiction, discrimination against the LGBTQ community, the distracting impact of the digital world, to name a few. The artists speak in many voices – some satirical or filled with dark humor, some confrontational and solemn, yet hopeful, some marveling at progress and some lamenting the lack of progress, some with explicit and direct commentary on the issues of the day, others with the subtle and metaphorical voice emerging from their highly original use of materials. The artists employ a variety of media; installations of life-sized scale sculpture, multimedia pieces, paintings and photographs, and fiber works.
This show is a feast for the eyes and a catalyst for reflection. Touchstone hopes that it will provide viewers with some insights and increase their empathy using masterfully presented perspectives of the exhibiting artists.
Participating Artists: Mia Adams, Ellis Angel, Robert Arbogast, Christine Atkinson, Ti-Rock Moore and Nic Brierre Aziz, Bobbi Baugh, Jennifer Becker, Aaron John Bourque, Joan Lobis Brown, John Coppola, Don DonCee Coulter, Connor Czora, Kara Daviau, Kendall Dorman, Jorg Dubin, Michalina Eisenberg, Abigail Engstrand, Andy Fernandez, Lloyd Foster, Jenne Glover, Lauren Gohara, Beryl Jazvic, Leonard Jewler, Melissa Joseph, Michael A Lang, Heather Layton, Jin Lee, Judith G. Levy, June Linowitz, Jim McKeon, Lori Mehta, Charles Mintz, Kerry Mitchell, Alx Orphant, Jessica Pace-Berkeley, Seol Park, Denise Poloyac, Bret Poplos, Matthew Rentz, Beverly Ryan, Corrina Sephora, Brandon C. Smith, Vincent Lee Smith, Ann Stoddard, Laura Sussman-Randall, Esteban Whiteside, Andrew Wohl, Jenny Wu.
Touchstone’s August exhibits include both “America Is ... “ and a Touchstone Gallery Members’ small works exhibit in the Annex gallery. At the Opening Reception on August 2, 6-8:30 pm, cash prizes will be awarded to four of the artists participating in the national juried show, each selected by one of the jurors.
Touchstone Gallery was founded in 1976 and is located in downtown DC, near all the major political centers. The gallery regularly shows the artwork of its member artists and is committed to providing a forum for artists from across the country to exhibit in the nation’s capital as well. Touchstone Gallery has been voted Best of D.C. for three years in a row by The Washington Post readers, and four years in a row by Washington City Paper readers.
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AMERIS_190802_008.JPG: Robert Arbogast
History's Written by the Victors
AMERIS_190802_011.JPG: Context has been added to this monument to illustrate the following facts:
* General Robert E. Lee lead [sic] the army of the separatist states in a war to preserve the inhuman practice of enslaving African Americans for the profit of white landowners. The rope symbolizes the bondage and degradation suffered by the slaves.
* The shroud is a white Confederate flag. White flags are a battlefield signal of surrender and as a Confederate Army's General-in-Chief, Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to General Grant on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the Civil War. Once the country was reunited under a single flag, the Confederate flag became irrelevant except as a symbol of resistance of intimidation.
* It has been said that history is written by the victors. Official accounts of events are compiled by the authority in power and taught in schools, but history can be viewed through many lenses. If there is one pervasive history associated with Confederate monuments, it's a history of racism, since most were erected as acts of defiance during times of racial unrest, or when major civil rights legislation was enacted. The following graph was compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
AMERIS_190802_015.JPG: Green dot - schools
Blue dot - Monuments on courthouse grounds
Red dot - Other sites (including monuments)
The first big peak was in 1910 around when the NAACP was founded.
The second peak was fifty years later during the US civil rights movement, the biggest single year being in 1963 as George Wallace took his "stand in the schoolhouse door" at the University of Alabama.
AMERIS_190802_022.JPG: Beryl Jazvic
AMERIS_190802_028.JPG: Connor Czora
Make America Great Again [Hats]
AMERIS_190802_036.JPG: Connor Czora
Make America Great Again
AMERIS_190802_040.JPG: Alx Orphant
AMERIS_190802_059.JPG: Judith G. Levy
Sappho Beach, Glory, Kansas
AMERIS_190802_061.JPG: Brandon C. Smith
AMERIS_190802_068.JPG: Ti-Rock Moore and Nic Brierre Aziz
AMERIS_190802_073.JPG: Jennifer Becker
AMERIS_190802_087.JPG: Don DonCee Coulter
First Avenue Part II: Urban Decay
AMERIS_190802_145.JPG: Ellis Angel
Article I, Section 9, Clause 8
AMERIS_190802_153.JPG: Jorg Dubin
Not This Pussy
AMERIS_190802_188.JPG: America Is...
Artist Explore, Ask and Answer: What Is America today?
AMERIS_190802_196.JPG: Seal Park
American Landscape(s), 2019
AMERIS_190802_201.JPG: Matthew Rentz
AMERIS_190802_210.JPG: Lauren Gohara
What the Bottom 40% Really Have
A study asked participants how they thought wealth was distributed between each quintile (economic groups of 20% each) of the population. The middle horizontal bar represents how people guessed wealth is divided. Participants estimated that the wealthiest 20% (in yellow) own approximately half of all wealth, and that the poorest 40% (in light blue and dark blue) own less than 10% of all wealth. The bottom bar represents what respondents thought would be a fair distribution. The top bar shows how wealth is actually distributed: the wealthiest 20% of Americans hold 84% of the nation's wealth, while the bottom 40% hold 0.3%.
AMERIS_190802_219.JPG: Jim McKeon
AMERIS_190802_249.JPG: June Linowitz
AMERIS_190802_268.JPG: Corrina Sephora
In the Spirit Realm
AMERIS_190802_281.JPG: Leonard Jewler
AMERIS_190802_289.JPG: Abigail Engstrand
Water from Air -- Let's Go There
AMERIS_190802_293.JPG: Christine Atkinson
Fifteen of the twenty worst wildfires in California history have occurred in the last two decades. Drought, depletion of ground water and climate change fueled heat waves are thought responsible for the increase. "Remnant" contains preserved within its epoxy, the debris from the last 2017 La Tuna Canyon fire, which burned 7,194 acres in the city of Los Angeles. It was the largest fire in the city in the past 50 years.
AMERIS_190802_299.JPG: Ann Stoddard
Pup Tent, Bivouac: ConcealedCarryLand
AMERIS_190802_321.JPG: Charles Mintz
AMERIS_190802_327.JPG: Jin Lee
Boxed in Too
AMERIS_190802_334.JPG: Kendall Dorman
Blue Bard, Red State, Blue Sky
AMERIS_190802_339.JPG: Bobbi Baugh
Every One Has a Different Story
AMERIS_190802_347.JPG: Kara Davlau
AMERIS_190802_354.JPG: Joan Lobis Brown
Baby Boomer Women 2
AMERIS_190802_359.JPG: Joan Lobis Brown
AMERIS_190802_369.JPG: Laura Susman-Randall
AMERIS_190802_381.JPG: Michael A. Lang
Going to Texas
AMERIS_190802_388.JPG: Vincent Lee Smith
AMERIS_190802_394.JPG: Denise Poloyac
Young and American
AMERIS_190802_398.JPG: Aaron John Bourque
99-119 Thorton St.
AMERIS_190802_404.JPG: Andrew Wohl
With the existential threats to American democracy unleashed by the election results this photograph of a crushed limited edition beer can found on the side of the road is a perfect metaphor for those threatening forces and the hope that our liberty and Constitution will survive.
I did not crush this can in my studio but found it on a morning walk. The fact that Lady Liberty's crown and tablet are intact is remarkable and leaves us hopeful.
AMERIS_190802_413.JPG: Kerry Mitchell
This was done to protest the continued killing of unarmed Black men by the police. In particular, the outrageous actions of one officer were judged by the court to be, "Constitutionally Reasonable."
AMERIS_190802_419.JPG: Andy Fernandez
AMERIS_190802_423.JPG: Lori Mehta
AMERIS_190802_430.JPG: Michalina Eisenberg
The Immigrant Quilt
AMERIS_190802_434.JPG: Jenne Glover
Point of Departure
AMERIS_190802_439.JPG: John Coopola
Land of the Free/Home of the Brave
AMERIS_190802_442.JPG: Judith G. Levy
Sappho Beach, Glory, Kansas
I was inspired to create this postcard, because of the lack of both support and legal protection for LGBTQIA citizen in Kansas, where I live. Very few towns and cities offer protection against hate crimes or discrimination. After moving to Kansas, I was struck by how this state was, at one time, the seat of the Populist movement and far more committed to progressive politics than it is today. This imaginary landscape conjures up a different story. This work is from an ongoing series, Panoramic Postcards, and is created by digitally extracting details from many, found, illustrated postcards to address American history and culture and to use the souvenir construct in a confrontational way. I studied postcard language in order to create the text, as I mimic style but alter traditional ideas about content.
AMERIS_190802_444.JPG: Judith G. Levy
Splendid Country Roads, Refuge Co., South Dakota
Splendid Country Roads, Refuge Co., South Dakota depicts the results of the United States stealing Indian land and the wholesale slaughter of indigenous populations. All of this was occurring during government sanctioned exploration of and intrusion into the countryside. Many found postcards were used to digitally create Splendid Country Roads. In this card, I am also acknowledging the practice of Mid-West farmers to create scaled-down replicas in their fields of iconic American buildings, bridges and other famous structures and how these structures reflect both our pride and our failure.
AMERIS_190802_455.JPG: Sappho Beach, Glory, Kansas
Sappho Beach is the oldest lesbian beach in Kansas and was established as part of a collective farm in 1883 by The Daughters of Gaia, who went West to create a safe homestead for themselves. Today lesbian residents run a prosperous, organic farm and enjoy recreating on their pristine beach during leisure time.
AMERIS_190802_459.JPG: Splendid Country Roads
Touring by automobile is a fine way to explore America's natural beauty and also visit with Indians who sell their handmade crafts.
AMERIS_190802_465.JPG: Lloyd Foster
AMERIS_190802_472.JPG: Melissa Joseph
I Can't Remember Everything
AMERIS_190802_475.JPG: Abigail Engstrand
Water from Air -- Let's Go There
AMERIS_190802_494.JPG: Beverly Ryan
Eating the Cake
No cake will remain -- a comment on our country's non-stop mining for and consumption of fossil fuels.
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