EN-GARDE II: omg
Artists: Chris Burden | Milena Dopitovà | Rico Gatson | George Gittoes | Kelly Heaton | Oleg Mavromati | Laura Poitras | Jay Rosenblatt | Boryana Rossa | Joe Sola | Sam Van Aken | David Wojnarowicz
January 8 - February 5, 2011
The Ronald Feldman Gallery will present En-Garde II: omg, an exhibition of film, video, and other mixed media by artists who question and challenge the status quo. This expanded version with twelve artists was first presented with five artists in Miami during the art fair week in December. Both exhibitions unfold against the background of the reemerging culture wars and the rising power of the far right.
The exhibition includes three video versions of A Fire in My Belly (1986-87) by David Wojnarowicz, one of which was removed by the Smithsonian from its current exhibition, and the video, Do Not Believe Your Eyes (2000) by the Russian artist Alex Mavromati, who faces possible imprisonment for his reenactment of a crucifixion. The inclusion of Chris Burden’s Transfixed (1974) and Through the Night Softly (1973) provides historical parallels for performance art that expresses the agony of the body and the right to use powerful imagery as a form of protest. Filmed in Peshawar and providing a global perspective, The Miscreants of Taliwood (2009) by the Australian film-maker George Gittoes merges popular Muslim Bollywood-type movies with documentation of Taliban violence. The sculpture, oh my god (2006) by Sam Van Aken, presents a monumental wall constructed from one-hundred box stereo speakers that emit sound clips of the words “Oh my God,” ranging from the voice of Homer Simpson to allusions to 9/11. In O’ Say Can You See (2011), the film-maker Laura Poitras combines images of the stunned and grief-stricken citizens viewing Ground Zero shortly after 9/11 with audio recorded weeks later at the Yankees’ come-from-behind Game 4 World Series victory. Rico Gatson’s fast-paced video related to urban blight, Beef (2003), records a performance by Mos Def as a call to action. In the video, The Fashionista (2003), Kelly Heaton models a coat fashioned from the pelts and electronics of sixty-four previously owned Tickle Me Elmo dolls, connecting America’s history of fur trading to contemporary perils. Two short films by Jay Rosenblatt, Afraid So (2006) and Restricted (1999), portray America’s perpetual state of fear.
Exploring stereotypes of female behavior, the Bulgarian artist Boryana Rossa will show Celebrating the Next Twinkling (1999), a spoof of “female” hysteria. Joe Sola’s Studio Visit (2005) documents his performance of jumping out the window, à la Yves Klein, in front of unsuspecting guests. On a gentler note, Green Plateaus 1 (2003) by the Czech artist Milena Dopitová evokes a vanishing past, the bitterness of ruins, and the solace of nostalgia.
With En-Garde II: omg, the Feldman Gallery continues its long tradition of tracking the tension between artists and censorship including many previous group shows: War Games (1982), Atomic Salon (1982), 1984 - A Preview (1983), Socialites & Satellites (1984), Ciphers of Identity (1994), Ameri©an Dre@m: A Survey (2003), Face Off (2004), and Artists Against the State: Perestroika Revisited (2006).
Visitors will be encouraged to move their chairs and use head phones and the remote controls to view the films, which vary in duration from a few minutes to feature length.
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There will be an opening reception January 8: 6 - 8. Gallery hours are Monday - Saturday, 10 - 6, Monday by appointment. For more information, contact Sarah Paulson (212) 226-3232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.