« Waterloo Exhibition at the Nash Gallery | Main | Emily Kippels - Lee Friedlander »

Matt Carlson's Gallery Visit

Matt Carlson’s visit to the Weisman:

Hindsight is Always 20/20
I was unable to determine the artist or artists who made this exhibit. If there were any clear labels denoting the artist name, I missed them. I only noted the names of notable world figures at the bottom of each piece. There were roughly 40-50 framed prints that made up the exhibit. The prints consisted of black text and a high quality, framed paper board. The individual works were organized sequentially along the walls.

The theme was very modern war oriented. Each work, essentially, consisted of one large word at the top of the poster. For example some of the words were: “SLAVERY,? “SOVIET? and “NUCLEAR.? Different, yet related words then followed in rows, decreasing in size, much like a doctor’s eye chart. This was clearly the inspiration for the name of the exhibit. In terms of the theme or message the artist wanted to convey, I suppose that they are saying it is easy to recognize the actions and mistakes a nation takes in the course of its existence.

I chose not to pick one work to examine, because they were all far too similar and reading them all would have taken far too much time. However, the most interesting thing, I found, was the organization of the exhibit. The exhibit wrapped around and jumped from several walls. To establish the intended flow the view should follow, there were arrows on the wall. This gave me a cool feeling of knowing where I was “supposed? to look next. The last panel, entitled “DEMOCRACY? had an arrow pointing straight up. I looked up, and then felt silly, however it made me think a little. Why would the word “democracy? be the last word in the line of these relatively negative words and why is there an arrow pointing up? It was a nice way to conclude the exhibit and thought provoking.

I suppose I would recommend this exhibit to a friend, given its strange and thought provoking nature.

What Do YOU Say, America?
This exhibit was a little strange in that the work was all previously published. It was a gathering of WWII era posters. There were various artists that contributed to the exhibit, most of them being unknown, but some as notable as Norman Rockwell. There were about 30 framed posters put on the walls in no particular fashion.

I think the theme of the work was to counter or fight against the recent antipatriotism we’ve seen in the US. All Americans support America, I would hope, but at this time in our nation’s history, there are many clashing ideas and conflict. I think this look back into the past, when everyone was in on the “good fight,? may be an attempt to unify and embrace modern America. I say this because off of the pieces in the exhibit were very positive. Of course they were propaganda, but nevertheless, it was refreshing to read and view positive images of our country.

The one work I liked best in the entire exhibit consisted of four panels of posters that had a related theme. The text on each poster read: “This man is your friend, he fights for freedom.? Then on each poster there was an image of a foreign, although allied soldier including Dutch, Russian, English and Chinese soldiers. It gave me a sense of unity while looking at it, and made me feel good about the WWII effort, even though I had no part in it.

If anyone has hard feelings about America right now, or has never seen classic American propaganda, then yes, I would recommend this exhibit.