Art Now Home | About Art Now | Artists Respond to the Political Present | Approaching the Aftermath & Commemorating Sept. 11Related Sites & Resources | Contact Art Now 

 Artists Respond to the Political Present

Events | Dance | Film, Video, TV | Internet & Electronica | Music | Theater, Performance Art & Protest | Visual Art | Words 

Visual Art

Comics & Political Cartoons | Flags & Quilts | Group Exhibitions | International Artwork of Protest | Magazines | Murals | Painting & Collages |Participation Art Work | Photography | Poster Art | Sculpture & Installations | Web Sites


After traveling across the country to glean perspectives from artists and activists on the state of democracy, Creative Time’s year-long program Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008) culminates in the “Convergence Center”: a major exhibition, participatory project space, and meeting hall mounted in New York City’s Park Avenue Armory just in time for election season. The Convergence Center at Park Avenue Armory will provide an activated space to both reflect on and perform democracy and will be punctuated by speeches by leading political thinkers as well as community leaders and activists throughout the run of its program.  Left is installation by Ligorano/Reese.

Presented as an "open call to artists," the Illinois State University art department curates The Election Show, an open forum for people to express their opinions on the issues and candidates for the 2008 presidential campaign.

The Pierro Gallery of South Orange, New Jersey presents, HEADLINES, an exhibition where artists have utilized news headlines in creating their artwork. The work of the seventeen participating artists "questions the source, delivery, interpretation and public reception of headlines." Various world events inspired much of the artwork. Also, many artists utilized the internet when making their artwork. Mary Birminigham served as curator for the exhibition and it will be held at the Pierro Gallery of South Orange from May 7 through July 16, 2006.

Included in HEADLINES is Carlo Vialu's series, We Will Be Greeted with Flowers which uses flowers to represent weapons and other images of war. Included in the series is an outdoor installation of flowers that form the shape of an AK-47 and a jigsaw puzzle also in the shape of a weapon of war. The use of the flowers and the images of war serves as a juxtaposition of "material associated with pleasure and materials associated with war."

Carlo Vialu, We Will Be Greeted with Flowers

Also included in HEADLINES is Henry Sanchez's Joan and John work side by side. Sanchez uses images from political ads, campaign posters and newspapers to create digital prints. He disguises the figures' faces by covering them with glitter. In Joan and John work side by side, Sanchez presents a group of spectators surrounding the the two politicians covered in glittered. Sanchez use of glitter emphasizes the mysteriousness and glamour surrounding politicians.

Henry Sanchez, Joan and John work side by side


October 2 – November 21, 2004 Exit Art presents The Presidency, an exhibition for which artists were asked to "put into a visual feeling their concept of the presidency." Concept: Papo Colo. Curators: Papo Colo and Jeanette Ingberman.



Timothy Blum's "Champertous Connivance," a crumbling plaster bust of Washington, and Arbuzo Virtmanis's "Remote #1 Emperor's Bedroom," a cardboard replica of the President's bedroom on Air Force One, are on display at Exit Art until Nov. 21, 2004.


Among the works on display are: Jonathan Allen's series of 42 digital prints entitled "Portraits of Corruption." Replicas of presidential portraits from George Washington on are lined one after another in slim black frames, each distorted according to a 1-10 corruption level. George W. Bush, a 10, is an undistinguishable swirl, except for a visible U.S. flag pin in the lower right corner of the print. In Allen's series, no image is left undistorted.


Other mixed media pieces include Francis Michael Palazzolo's overtly denunciatory "White-Shit-House #17 and White Shit House," a simple image of the white house rendered with brown feces, and Arbuzo Virtmanis's more subtle "Remote #1 Emperor's Bedroom," a life-size replica of the President's bedroom on Air Force One made from corrugated cardboard.


Rutherford Chang's video project "Dead Air" reduces President Bush's 2003 State of Union address to pauses and gasps of air. In absence of the actual speech, Bush's slight breaths and quirky mannerisms are comical; followed by the thunderous applause and standing ovations they take on an eerie tone. In a statement the artist wrote that the piece comments on the "meaningless and absurd political theater centered on the role of the presidency." In another video project, Bonita Makuch's "Oh Beautiful," explicit excerpts from the Starr Report, voiced by two porn stars, loop over images of a U.S. flag fluttering in a clear blue sky. (based on Sandre Ogle's article in Recount, A Magazine of Contemporary Politics)




October 21 – November 6, 2004 the White Box, 525 West 26th Street, New York, presents Democracy is Fun?, an exhibition that explores how the cross-pollination of media, technology and culture impacts artistic production and the social mechanism of art in politically tense times. Inspired to propose a new possibility for curatorial process in the upsurge in election-related exhibitions and adhering to the spirit of democracy, Democracy is Fun? is organized to provide a physical and virtual platform to demonstrate, document and archive curatorial and artist-led actions with a proficiency of technological production tools. Democracy is Fun? brings together, through a collective production-survey, a group of actions with the purpose to unite various perspectives on American politics. Through the interruption of singular actions, Democracy is Fun? exposes the distinctive concerns of these cultural producers as a whole, while accentuating a stance of democracy which can hold many perspectives. Artists: Anne-Marie Schleiner / Bjørn Melhus / Hug & Magnan / Jonah Bruckner-Cohen/ Kendell Geers/ Larry Litt/ Michael Anderson / Pursue the Pulse/ Randall Packer / Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga / Serkan Ozkaya / Assume Vivid Astro Focus / Sislej Xhafa. Actions: Bikes Against Bush/ Blame Show/ Bush League / CoDECK / Contagious Media/ Experimental Party / Freedom Salon / K48 / Majority Whip / Screensavers Group/ Six Feet Under: Make Nice / Imagine Festival.


OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, October 21, 6-8pm With "Speech for the End of the World", Randall M. Packer, Secretary, US Department of Art & Technology


ELECTION NIGHT EVENT: Tuesday, November 2 a night to unite for the democratic practice, featuring screenings, and performances by Larry Litt and Screensavers Group.


On October 23 ? November 27, The Feldman Gallery, 31 Mercer St, New York City, will present FACE OFF, a contemporary group exhibition that takes an unexpected approach to the current political moment. Timed to coincide with the national elections, FACE OFF responds to the growing atmosphere of anger and anxiety which has begun to define our lives, times, and political discourse. Organized by the same curatorial team that mounted Ameri©an Dre@m, last year's extensive group exhibition that addressed a broad spectrum of political issues, FACE OFF offers a more focused presentation of individual concerns. Despite the combative stance suggested by the title, the critiques presented in FACE OFF are more oblique, the artists more removed. Safely out of sight, they act as witnesses to their surroundings, quietly recording their observations. What emerges is a meditation on our times in a wide variety of media, including textiles, watercolor, sculpture, audio, and video. The exhibition examines conditions, imagined, psychological, and real. The works are studied responses that express everything from frustration to protest to concern for the future. The viewer in turn participates as a witness in their presence, forced to face off with the realities they document.




Helen Zughaib, "Absolut Hell" Gouache, mixed media on canvas 40" x 30" (2004), part of Breaking the Silence II at the Museum of Modern ARF, John Aaron – Artist and Director.




Welcome To New York: An RNC Scrapbook
On view Oct 8-Nov Nov 7, 2004
College Street Gallery, Buffalo, NY


Photo: Michael Mulley



Includes photographs by Bella Frank (Sweden) Santo Barbieri (Canada) Michael Mulley (Buffalo) Antrim Caskey, Amelia Holowaty-Krales, Diane Green-Lent (NYC) and Video from Peter Sanders (NYC).


THE FREEDOM SALON at Deitch Project, 26 Wooster Street, New York
August 28 – September 2  Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12-6P 


The Freedom Salon, curated by Apsara DiQuinzio and Tina Kukielski, brings together politically-minded and socially progressive work by contemporary artists working in a variety of media. Exploring the themes of the Imagine Festival: Democracy, Freedom, Prosperity, Community, Justice, and Future, the work in this exhibition activates critical dialogue on global and local levels during this significant cultural moment. The Salon offers a lively range of provocative works such as Enrique Chagoya's Poor George drawings, Taryn Simon's photograph of a judicially convicted innocent, and Dread Scott's altered NY Times contrasting the boom of war with a booming stock market. With savvy handouts from Yoko Ono, Harrell Fletcher, Paul Chan, and prankster/activists the Yes Men.





The Schroeder Romero "Watch What We Say" is an exhibition of new and recent visual works in a variety of media presenting a mix of emergin and established artists "who address pressing political isssues of the moment in poetic, subversive, emotional and clear-eyed terms." To learn more and review these skillful thought-provoking works go to.






Death to the Fascist Insect that Preys on the Life of the People is an examination of the current state of world affairs. Curated by Peter Corrie, and TAG Projects, an arts group residing in a vacant space in DUMBO's 70 Washington Street building, the works range from playful teasing of our current administration to works dealing with the ugly realities of war. Pictured here is Peter Corrie's Dear W.





Roebling Hall is presenting Bush League, an exhibition of works by 16 artists interpreting the Bush administration through various forms of media. The Bush League artists are Melanie Baker, Dan Ford, Joan Linder, Laura Parnes, Jane Benson, Wayne Gonzales, Bjørn Melhus, Michael St. John, Anne Deleporte, Deborah Grant, Ivan Navarro, Moises Saman, Christoph Draeger, Eric Heist, David Opdyke, and Guy Richards Smit. The exhibition will run through September 6, 2004, coinciding with the Republican National Convention being held in Manhattan. Roebling Hall is located at 390 Wythe Avenue at South 4th St Brooklyn, NY 11211. Tel: 718 599 5352 Fax: 718 384 5075.


Make Nice concept by Larry Litt and Juan Puntes Organized by Raul Zamudio. Make Nice will be the theme of the fifth edition of White Box¹s annual summer series, Six Feet Under. As in previous years, Make Nice will consist of exhibitions mounted by critics and curators who will take possession of White Box¹s exhibition space for the duration of one week each. These exhibitions are viewed through the sidewalk-level large window and in (VIDEOBOX), a division of White Box located in another outdoor window. This year the topic specifically addresses the Republican National Convention, to be staged in New York from August 29 through September 2, 2004. The premise is that the curators, and the artists they select, respond to an ad-campaign featuring Ed Koch in which he tells New Yorkers: "The Republicans are Coming, Make Nice." This superfluous comment, that New Yorkers or anyone visiting New York this summer should not voice their opinion against the Republicans nor harass them at their National Convention is paradoxically the prime motivation for White Box to invite curators and artists to add their voices. The exhibition will run through September 4, 2004. Opening receptions will take place every Wednesday through the run. White Box is located at 525 WEST 26th STREET NEW YORK, NY 10001 – USA TEL: 212.714.2347 FAX :212.714.2354.


MASS MoCA presents The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere, through Spring 2005. Over the course of the 1990s, the term "intervention" was increasingly used by politically engaged artists to describe their interdisciplinary approaches. In contrast to the sometimes heavy-handed political art of the 1980s, interventionist practitioners have begun to carve out compelling new paths for artistic practice, coupling hard-headed politics with a light-handed approach. Divided into four subcategories, Nomads, Reclaim the Streets, Ready to Wear and The Experimental University, the exhibit embraces the various facets of political society.The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere is curated by MASS MoCA assistant curator Nato Thompson. MASS MoCa is located in North Adams, Massachusetts and is the country's largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts.


Happy Days Are Here Again at the David Zwirner. The show is a collection of works created in response to the tense world we live in today. Ernesto Calvano, Christian Holstad, Hernan Bas, and Amelie von Wulffen are among the artitsts involved. The show is curated by Andre Schlechtriem and runs through July 30, 2004. David Zwirner is located at 525 West 19th Street (between 10th Av. and West St.) New York, NY 10011 tel 212 727-2070 fax 212 727-2072


Counter Culture July 10 – August 14, 2004 Tuesday – Saturday, Noon – 6PM At various locations on and around the Bowery. Counter Culture partners contemporary artists with shopkeepers near the future home of the museum (set to open in 2006) on the Bowery. Through site-specific installations by six New York based artists, visitors will be taken on a journey to examine the zones of exchange and cultural diversity surrounding this unique neighborhood. A self-guided walking tour will take people on a path to the "interventions" installed throughout the bodegas, kitchen and restaurant supply stores, Noho boutiques and other local businesses that make up this historical area of Manhattan. Artist involved include Flux Factory, Jean Shin, and Julianne Swartz.


Power, Corruption, and Lies brings together artists whose works survey the landscape of the western political mindset. Artists in the show include Lutz Bacher, Chris Burden, Jeremy Deller, Oyvind Fahlstrom, Jonah Freeman, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Phillip Guston, Richard Hamilton, Aleksandra Mir, Bruce Nauman, Cady Noland, Richard Phillips, Richard Prince, David Rees, Ed Ruscha, Rudolph Stingel, Andy Warhol, Garry Winogrand, David Wojnarowicz and Christopher Wool amongst others. Curated by Adam McEwen and Neville Wakefield. Power, Corruption, and Lies runs through July 23, 2004 at the Roth Horowitz, 160A East 70th Street New York, NY 10021 phone: (212) 717-9067 fax: (212) 717-9575 [email protected]


ACTIVE DUTY Armed Artists of America (AAA): Curated by Artist and U.S. Army Veteran Lee Wells as a rapid call for art. Active Duty has organized over 30 international artists in less than 21 days as a direct response to the current socio-political state of America and the phenomenal events taking place all over the world. These artists are temporarily banding together under the banner of Studio 84 as a timely autonomous art movement called: Armed Artists of America (AAA). Armed Artists of America (AAA) have no formal or ideological agenda; instead they hope to set in motion imaginative, pro-active and practical ideas.Active Duty is looking to open up a dialogue between artists and the community at large. The ideas and feelings expressed by the artists engaged in Active Duty form the front lines of the discussion. Active Duty Armed Artists of America (AAA) Armed with ideas and the tools to create a rapid response to the global progression towards chaos and war. THIS IS A CALL TO DUTY through July 4, 2004 (Independence Day) Closing Celebration: Sunday July 4, 2004. Studio 84, 84 South First Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211. Take L-Train to Bedford Ave, to South 1st st. located between Berry and Wythe. For more information please call: 718 349 7951.


Yo! What Happened to Peace? An exhibition of peace and anti-war posters will open at the Stay Gold Gallery on Friday, August 6, 7-10 pm. The collection will be exhibited through September 5, 2004. The gallery is located at 451 Grand St., Brooklyn, NY 11211. Curated by graphic artist John Carr,the show was originally sponsered by and exhibited at Tokyo's renowned CWC Gallery. The exhibit arrives in New York after just having been shown at Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge, MA during the Democratice National Convention.


SOMA the San Fransisco Art Studio has compiled a diverse array of Propaganda Art. The show is billed as a propaganda from the poles of the American political specturm; from "pinko tree-huggin' hippie pacifists, to gun-totin' SUV-drivin' crypto-conservatives – and everything in between." The gallery shows a gathering of 100 artists and 100 original works. The show openned in May 7, 2003 and due to requests from the public it will be reopenning in July 2003. A discussion of the material presented will be discussed in a forum after the openning night. Price of admission is free. The gallery is located in 314 11th Street P: San Francisco, CA 94103-4314 United States. To contact via email: [email protected].


The Interventionists, an exhibition at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, "explores the work of contemporary artists who have utilized the strategies of art to engage non-art audiences. In large part, these strategies are influenced by the political art of the 1980s but they look entirely different. Strange tours of New York City, public laboratories on genetics, parasite mobile housing units, and architectural clothing are some examples of this tactical genre. The task of The Interventionists is to provide a large survey of these projects while maintaining their integrity as projects dedicated to social change. In so doing, the exhibition provides an insight into the changed role of political art since the late 80s." The exhibit opens opens May 31, 2004.


Check out Gallery 138 for the exhibit Brown v. Board of Education 1954?2004. The gallery marks the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark decision, and explores historical and contemporary forms of segregation with works by nine artists. Satch Hoyt's caramel bust of Thurgood Marshall is accompanied by recordings of his speeches; Dread Scott's interactive Blacks Only/Whites Only, an installation of two booths, forces viewers to pick one or the other. Derrick Bell, author of Silent Covenants: Brown vs. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes of Racial Reform, and Ted Wilson, author of Slo' Dance, read at the closing party on June 17. The gallery is located at 138 W. 17th St.; 212-633-0324. open from 5/17/04 through 6/17/04.


BLACK PANTHERS is an exhibit of historical photographs from the late 1960's Black Liberation movement taken by Ruth Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones. Presented by the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica California, the photographs are stunning portraits of Panther leaders, cadre of the revolutionary organization, and their radical sympathizers and followers. Baruch and Jones first published their original photos of the Oakland Black Panther Party as a book in 1970, titled The Vanguard. As part of the exhibition there will be a lecture and slide show by the legendary Black Panther leader, Kathleen Cleaver. A book signing by photographer Pirkle Jones will follow the presentation. The opening reception is Saturday, May 15th, 6 – 8 pm, with the slide lecture by Cleaver held on Sunday, May 16th at 3 pm. The exhibition takes place at the 18th Street Arts Center, 1639 18th Street, Santa Monica. The show runs until July 23, 2004. For more info, please contact 310-453-3711.


"MAJORITY WHIP" AT WHITE BOX; Curators Kathy Grayson and Laura Tepper have organized "Majority Whip," a show of political art by over 40 young artists that opens on May 1, 2004, at White Box in Manhattan's Chelsea art district. The gallery space is being converted into a ramshackle U.S. Senate interior and filled with works on paper that are designed to inspire viewers to become politically involved — and register to vote. Sales from the exhibition benefit Project Democracy, a Florida voter registration nonprofit, while the floor of the ersatz Senate is to be used for lectures and performances during the run of the show. The catalogue of the exhibition is designed by Scott Hug and doubles as the fourth incarnation of K48, his popular art show in a magazine.White Box is located at 525 West 26th St.; 212-714-2347. The exhibition is open from 5/1/04 through 5/29/04.


TERRORVISION an exhibition at Exit Art, is "a multidisciplinary arts project that examines how definitions of terror are shaped by individula and collective visions, experiences, memories and histories. This exhibition explores how personal, spiritual and physical events influence our notions of terror and how these unforgettable moments – and the cultural and media artifacts that represent them – have come to define our most extreme fears. This exhibition aims to explore how these definitions and relationships are transformed and determined by geography, generation and personal experience. Terrorvision is designed to serve as a study of terror as depicted through the ingenuity and inventiveness of today's artists." Exit Art is located at 475 Tenth Ave.; 212-966-7745. Open from 5/1/04 through 7/31/04.


Gigantic ArtSpace (GAS) presents the exhibition "Tactical Action" featuring artists' investigation of "the sociological and the political as they are assimilated into artistic context. Individual perspectives examine 'public opinion' and 'political process', exploring the collection, dissemination and expression of information defined not by any specific medium, but by an attitude toward the media." TACTICAL ACTION is curated by Lea Rekow at Gigantic ArtSpace located at 59 Franklin Street, New York, NY, 10013 T 212 226-6762, open from April 14 through June 10, 2004.


Drawing Resistance is a group art show of two-dimensional artwork by 31 artists from North America addressing diverse, andcontentious issues, such as the anti-globalization movement, working class rights, the destruction of the environment, corporate control, police brutality, homelessness, gentrification and the Zapatista liberation movement in Mexico. The show travels to cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico on a monthly basis for a 5 year continuous period. In each city or town that the show is exhibited, local hosts select the space and the events which compliment the traveling exhibition.


Carolee Schneeman's exihibit "Devour" opens Nov. 7, 2003 and will run until Nov. 15. Devour is a multi-channel video projection in which looped fragments of political disasters and domestic intimacy are locked within the ambiguous menace of enlarged details both human and mechanical. Her work is at the EyeBeam 540 W.21st, NYC, open Sat.-Tues. from 12:00 – 6:00 PM.


Pop Patriotism at Momenta Art Sept. 7- Oct 7, 2002. Offering artifacts of popular culture placed alongside the work of artists skeptical of America's renewed devotion to its flag, the exhibition POP Patriotism addresses the implications of this recent trend. The explosion of patriotic fervor that first swept across the country last fall and winter, seemingly justified by the trauma caused by what occurred in September, has a less than wholesome side that appears to have little to do with a simple pride in one's nationality. Focusing on the mass marketing of national sentiment and nostalgia engaged in by the media, fashion and entertainment industries, the artwork included in POP Patriotism reflects a skepticism towards the propagandistic and commercial opportunism that has been so prevalent in the past several months. Curated by Peter Scot. Momenta Art is at 72 Berry street, Brooklyn, 11211 NY.


GLAMericans are a non-partisan group of funky Americans committed to non-violence and it's promotion through glamorous, media-savy, cultural events. They believe in America's potential to be a peaceful and powerful force in the world and that war is bad for our country, bad for our environment and bad for our travel plans. They can be spotted at peace rallies in New York where they don the latests in patriotic fashion e.g. an executioners mask constructed from an American Flag or a constitutional corsette. They were last spotted June 26th at LILLIE'S Bar, 46 Beard St, Redhook, NY,11213 where they performed a funkdafied fashion show for peace. They will be spotted at a peace rally near you.


"Celebrate America's Freedoms: A Day of Remembrance": Different programs of commemorating September 11 are being documented by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, (IMLS) in "Celebrate America's Freedoms: A Day of Remembrance." The initiative will highlight the role of museums in collecting and hosting the images and words which portray contemporary histories as well as the role of museums as special places where communities can reaffirm and discuss the freedom to assemble, the freedom to create, the freedom to worship, the freedom to inquire, the freedom to express ideas, and freedom from fear.


Ground Zero: A 300-piece exhibit of paintings, photographs, digitally altered images & sculptures about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is on view at the Museum of New Art in Detroit. Organized by NY artists Danny Scheffer, Frank Shifreen and Julius Vitali, "Ground Zero," features works by 60 artists. The exhibit is intended to reflect the range of attitudes about Sept. 11, from patriotism & ruminations on the imagery of that day to anti-American perspectives and appeals for peace. The curators say they want to broaden the public discussion about terrorism, national security, news coverage, patriotism & freedom of expression in times of war. 13 Jul – 24 Aug, 2002.


SHOW: The Flag: a collaborative exhibition at the Armory Northwest Gallery in Pasaden, CA (May 12-June 16, 2002) focusing on the portrayal and display of the American flag. Included are historical works from the 1960s, as well as artworks inspired by the Sept. 11 attacks & their aftermath. The flag can embrace the ideals on which this country was founded, court controversy and dissent, or achieve both simultaneously. A public dialogue hosted by Carol Wells, Exec. Director of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, with Carol Sobel, First Amendment specialist for the ACLU, will be held on June 15, from 2 – 4 PM.


Street Weapons: Technologies of Youth Culture, Social Activism & Direct Action: An exhibition, planned for Feb. 2002, of creative devices and tactics used by activist groups to nonviolently resist the bodily harm that gathering in public places often engenders. The exhibition will be preceded by a series of workshops with organizations focused on direct action on and around the Yale campus. Workshops will be led by Jordi Claramonte of Fiambrera Obrera-Las Agencias; Kate Rich, specialist at the Bureau of Inverse Technology on Overcasting; Electronic Disturbance Theater; Natalie Jeremijenko on 'engineering change'; and others. Contact Natalie Jeremijenko at Yale University, (203) 432 4326.


Conference:A group exhibition at Walter Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba looking at the world since 9-11. Includes a new installation by Dread Scott looking at how the US war is affecting the people of Afghanistan. December 12, 2001- February 9, 2002. 219 E 2nd St (at Ave B), NYC. Opening Sunday, December 16, 2001 3-6PM. For more info, call the gallery at 212-674-3939.


Secret Wars: Houston's Art Car Museum showed an exhibition entitled "Secret Wars." America's "new war" against terrorism will be fought with unprecedented secrecy, including heavy press restrictions not seen for years, as the Pentagon has said. "Secret Wars" investigates artistic dissent to covert operations and government secrets. The artists have retrieved evidences, personal and public, that call into question the good intentions of classified information and COINTELPRO tactics. September 21, 2001-February 24, 2002.