Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pratt Manhattan Gallery to Present Political Art Exhibition to Coincide with 2012 Election

Pratt Manhattan Gallery connects with the fall 2012 election campaign by presenting "Party Headquarters: Art in the Age of Political Absurdity," a political art exhibition, voter registration drive, and a fifth annual program of political cabaret at Pratt Manhattan, titled "Pratt Falls," which represent a broad range of opinions about political media, the art of persuasion, the persuasion of art, and voting attitudes of vote-eligible citizens. The exhibition runs from September 28 through November 10, 2012, with an opening reception on Thursday, September 27 from 6 to 8 PM. The exhibition and corresponding events are free and open to the public.


 

The exhibition, guest-curated by Eleanor Heartney and Larry Litt and reprising their 2008 exhibition "Party Headquarters: Voting is Just the Beginning," includes painting, sculpture, etching, installation, performance, and video animations by contemporary artists that, according to Heartney, point out the social consequences of greed, the corrosive effects of money and religion in politics, the dire state of the environment, the contradictory aspirations embodied by the American Dream, and the destructive outcome of unquestioning faith in American exceptionalism. The work also affirms the vitality of America's finest values, among them belief in democracy, free speech, opportunity, and liberty, according to Heartney.     
 
 "In an age of political absurdity, it seems to be up to artists and political satirists to remind us of the yawning chasm between our political rhetoric, our social realities, and the ideals to which we as a nation claim to adhere. Taken together, the works here suggest both the strengths and follies of America," said guest curator Heartney in an essay she authored on the exhibition. "Their larger message is that the strength of our American-ness lies in our ability to question, to look frankly at the nation's past and present, and to ask if we are living up to our own best selves," she added.  
 
The exhibition will go beyond the gallery with a voter registration booth titled "ηλίθιος-ocracy (from the Greek 'idiot')," which was designed by Pratt alumnus and artist Duke Riley (M.F.A. '08). The center, which draws on the origins of democracy in ancient Greece, will tour the streets of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens in September and October to encourage citizens to register for the upcoming election and to participate in the "Party Headquarters" experience. Please contact Amy Aronoff at aarono29@pratt.edu for the full schedule of booth times and locations.
 
"Party Headquarters" artists will examine the political landscape by drawing on history and popular culture and subverting American symbols and mythologies. Artists Enrique Chagoya, Michael d'Antuono, Kara Maria, and Peter Saul look at our uncertain future through the lens of history. Donna Catanzaro, Federico Solmi, Jade Townsend, and Martin Wilner draw on the language of popular culture. Mark Wagner and Greta Pratt subvert familiar American symbols while Sally Edelstein and Jerry Kearns highlight the strange convergence of various American mythologies. Lastly, Ian Laughlin and Duke Riley present timely reminders that the vote is the essential emblem of democracy.  
 
The fifth annual "Pratt Falls" political cabaret, produced by Litt, will take place in the gallery on October 16, October 30, and November 6 at 7 PM.  
 
Eleanor Heartney is an internationally published art critic, a contributing editor at Art in America, and the author of books including Critical Condition: American Culture at the Crossroads (Cambridge University Press, 1997) and Postmodernism (Cambridge University Press, 2001).
 
Larry Litt is a democracy activist and political humorist who has uniquely traveled the roads between art, journalism, and filmmaking since 1974. He produced The Blame Show video and cable television series Polite, Politic, and Political, and the award-winning video Before You Don't Vote: Advice to the Angry, Apathetic, and Alienated. He has curated several political art exhibitions, has been featured in the Venice, Moscow, and Gwangju Biennales, and has performed internationally in one-person shows.  
 
Add Pratt Manhattan Gallery on Facebook, follow Pratt exhibitions on Twitter, and please visit www.pratt.edu/exhibitions for more information.   
 
"Party Headquarters: Art in the Age of Political Absurdity "
September 28--November 10, 2012
Pratt Manhattan Gallery
144 West 14th Street, Second Floor
Gallery Hours: Monday--Saturday, 11 AM-6 PM; Thursdays, 11 AM-8 PM
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 27 from 6-8 PM 

From left to right: Greta Pratt's "Rodney Parker" from the Liberty Wavers series, 2010-2012, photograph, 20 x 28 inches; Enrique Chagoya's The Head Ache, after George Cruikshank, 2010, digital etching and Chine collé, 15.5 x 19.5 inches; and Peter Saul's Newt Gingrich vs. Orphan Annie, 1995, acrylic and alkyd on canvas, 82.5 x 67.5 inches. From left to right: Credit Greta Pratt; Courtesy of the artist and George Adams Gallery, New York City; and Courtesy of George Adams Gallery, New York City.
      

MEDIA CONTACT:
Amy Aronoff at 718.636.3554 or aarono29@pratt.edu