Monday, August 26, 2013

The Art of Political Change at MOCA

“The Art of Political Change” is an invitational show curated by DMV area artist Roy Utley – the show is all about art and politics and has been getting quite a bit of pre-opening attention from the press in this most political of towns.

The show opens on my birthday (Sept. 6) and the Opening Reception is Sept 14th from 6:00 to 10:00. The exhibition runs through September 28 at the legendary MOCA DC gallery in Georgetown, and there’s an open mike political poetry night on Sept 20 from 6:00 to 10:00, followed by a Film screening night on Sept 21 from 6:00 to 10:00 (hosted by Lucy Gebre-Egziabher) and a Closing Party on Sept 27 from 6:00 to 10:00.

The show features distinctive works of social commentary by a diverse group of Washington area artists, including yours truly. They come from all across the artistic landscape – painters, sculptors, poets, filmmakers and more. The dozens of works on display by the artists will connect with the viewer on a personal visual level, as only visual art can, while the live video feeds will enable everyone with internet access to view the events as they happen.

My own exposure to political art is that (in the past) it has been usually (or maybe mostly) the left doing negative artwork about the right. 

And that's cool! 

Political art is seldom "positive" (other than in Nazi Germany, the former USSR, North Korea and Cuba - that's a smiling lot ain't it?).

The Presidency of George W. Bush left behind a huge trail of political art of all genres, all harshly critical (and a lot quite threatening) of the former President. 

Some of it was very smart and intelligent and some of it downright offensive and mean, and c'mon - once you step into the White House, you sort of expect to be the target focus of harsh political criticism.

Some artists, such as Richard Serra’s crayon drawing of an Abu Ghraib prisoner with the caption "STOP BUSH”, employed that time sensitive and horrifying war issue to achieve instant fame, and now the minimalist sculptor is perhaps best known for that rather simplistic and powerful piece, which essentially got him a ticket to a Venice Biennale.

From my experience/exposure, other than a few right wing nuts here and there, anti Presidential political art has been all but AWOL during the Obama presidency, perhaps because the mainstream media has been rather successful in re-calibrating their approach to the President and also in exacting harsh revenge on anyone who dares to deviate from a overly positive depiction of our current President.

I sent them an email asking for clarification on this issue, and since I never heard back, then I wrote them a letter... still waiting for a response.

In view of the current multiple woes of the administration, ranging from the NSA revelations to the IRS scandal and others, the vast left wing nuttery has begun to turn on the President, and I will be curious to see if Utley’s political show addresses the anti-Presidential venom so common to past political American art, but now with an Obama focus. 

It is clear from Dana Ellyn's always sharp eye and caustic talented brush, that the answer is apparently yes!
“He’s Making a (Kill) List” by Dana Ellyn 
I love this country! See ya there! 

The artists are: