Drawings from the Bush Administration, 2000–2008
Artissima 15: The International Fair of Contemporary Art in Torino, Italy
November 7-9, 2008
Alexander Gray Associates participated in Artissima 15, with a solo exhibition of works by performance artist and political activist Karen Finley.
With Artissima 15 opening immediately after the United States Presidential election, the Gallery is presenting a new interactive installation and a selection of Karen Finley’s works on paper made over the past eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency. In the installation, viewers are invited to inscribe on the booth’s walls the names of those killed in the War on Iraq, creating a collective witness, site for mourning and, ultimately, a call to action. The names of the nearly 150,000 deaths were gathered from internet sources, including www.icasualties.org and www.iraqbodycount.org. Among the works on paper, are reflections on a range of social and political events during Bush’s American reign, including 9/11, The War of Iraq, the ascendency of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, fictional journals of Laura Bush’s dreams, the execution of Saddam Hussein, and Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential candidacy.
Stylistically, Finley’s drawings bring to mind Impressionist sketchbooks, Andre Breton’s Exquisite Corpse drawings during the Dada and Surrealist movements, and Andy Warhol’s commercial art-era drawings. Finley’s slight of hand and whimsical flourishes counterbalance the political content of the images she appropriates from popular culture.
As part of the Ecole de Stéphanie, curated by Stéphanie Moisdon, Karen Finley performed Nation Building on Saturday, November 8, 2008 at 11:30 AM. This reading/performance looked at the impact of the War on Iraq.