We The People
2. Feb - 14. March 2019
Erik van Lieshout
“What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who only has eyes if he is a painter or ears if he is a musician or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet or even if he is a boxer just his muscles? Far from it: at the same time he is also a political being constantly aware of the heartbreaking passionate or delightful things that happen in the world shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people and with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.” ― Pablo Picasso
Lovaas Projects presents a small exhibition of artists making art during the current socio-political upheaval and decline of democracy in America. Mark Handforth’s Silver Star depicts the iconic symbol of US military strength and gallantry as bent and broken. Erik van Lieshout's Untitled (Homeland Security) comments on the recent obsession of fighting terrorism mocking Homeland Security and its misplaced fearmongering of external threats when the real danger lies closer to home with ever increasing gun deaths. The Adam Helms Masks, five ink on mylar portraits of masks, balaclavas and hoods asks the viewer to consider how we tend to project our own fears of violence upon these hidden identities. And in his work on paper Humanity is Overrated, Andreas Neumeister invites us to consider the bitter irony of Latinos for Trump. Hugo Markl’s Winchester spoofs on a political culture that refuses to see the correlation between the proliferation of gun ownership (there is one gun for each American) and violent gun deaths (40,000 in 2018). Pentti Monkkonen takes the iconic figure of Michelangelo’s David dressed as a policeman to allude to a culture where police presence is as ubiquitous as it is ominous. Artist Shepard Fairey protest posters, titled We the People depict Latina, Muslim, and African American women in the same style as his poplar Hope poster coinciding with the Obama campaign. Fairey’s work playing off of advertising, pop art and pop culture were printed in newspapers and distributed at Trumps inauguration.
The art in this exhibition made in the past 10 years not only reflected violence and political malaise but can be seen as prescient of how far we would continue to stray from the democratic ideal embraced in We The People.