Allora & Calzadilla
Elmgreen & Dragset
Chris Johanson & Kal Spelletich
Ilya & Emilia Kabakov
Monuments for the USA: more than 60 artists from around the world devise proposals for political and social monuments. Freed from contextual, budgetary or practical constraints, the proposals reflect each artist's ideas about the type of monument that the people of the US need. Drawings, diagrams, maquettes, photocollages and written descriptions, the nature of the hypothetical monuments may be permanent or ephemeral, practical or whimsical. For the Capp Street Project: collage-like installations by Tariq Alvi; contemporary Anthony Burdin presents California Gothic, video installations
Monuments for the USA
The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts has invited more than 60 artists from around the world to devise proposals for political and social monuments for the United States of America. The proposalsâ€”including drawings, diagrams, maquettes, photocollages and written descriptionsâ€”will be displayed in "Monuments for the USA," an exhibition on view from April 7 through May 14 in the CCA Wattis Institute's Logan Galleries on the San Francisco campus of California College of the Arts.
Freed from contextual, budgetary or practical constraints, the proposals reflect each artist's ideas about the type of monument that the people of the USA need. The proposed monuments may address particular values or ideals, group or individual histories, and institutions or places. The nature of the hypothetical monuments, meanwhile, may be material or immaterial, permanent or ephemeral, practical or whimsical.
Proposals range from Elmgreen & Dragset's "Monument to Short Term Memory" and Michael Ross's "Monument to Small Change," to Xu Zhen's huge loudspeakers that would be placed on a mountain in Afghanistan and in a U.S. metropolis, accompanied by microphones allowing reciprocal swearing to be exchanged between citizens of the two countries. Other artists strike a more hopeful note. Aleksandra Mir calls for a pair of giant ears to be erected, one on each coast, as if to encourage the United States to have more awareness of what's happening in the rest of the world.
When asked how he came up with the concept for the exhibition, CCA Wattis Institute director Ralph Rugoff said, "I began planning this show last summer, largely in response to my distress over the political situation in the USA. It seemed to me that the United States has fundamentally changed, and that proposals for monuments would be an interesting way for artists to address the country's remodeled profile, along with the current direction, character and behavior of the citizens of what is arguably the world's oldest continuing democratic state. I was definitely not interested in narrow ideas of political art, however, such as works that would protest against specific events, like the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Instead, this project asked for proposals that could illuminate the broader, and contradictory, social landscape of the contemporary United States."
Established in 1998, the CCA Wattis Institute serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of leading-edge local, national and international contemporary culture. Through exhibitions, the Capp Street Project residency program, lectures, symposia, performances and publications in the fields of art, architecture and design, the Wattis Institute fosters interaction among the students and faculty of California College of the Arts; art, architecture and design professionals; and the general public.
Allora & Calzadilla, Tariq Alvi, Janine Antoni, Edgar Arceneaux, Artemio, Robert Beck, Michel Blazy, Monica Bonvicini, Andrea Bowers, Fernando Bryce, Los Carpinteros, Paul Chan, Adam Chodzko, Martin Creed, Enrico David, Jeremy Deller, Thomas Demand, Jessica Diamond, Sam Durant, Shannon Ebner, Elmgreen & Dragset, Meschac Gaba, Anya Gallaccio, Hans Haacke, Susan Hiller, Thomas Hirschhorn, Chris Johanson & Kal Spelletich, Michael Joo, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Brad Kahlhamer, Barbara Kruger, Gabriel Kuri, Ken Lum, Jason Meadows, Aleksandra Mir, Liliana Moro, Mike Nelson, Paul Noble, Yoshua Okon, Jennifer Pastor, Kiersten Pieroth, Paola Pivi, Marjetica Potrc, Tobias Putrih, Qiu Zhijie, Rigo 23, Matthew Ronay, Michael Ross, Santiago Sierra, Gary Simmons, Yutaka Sone, Frances Stark, Michael Stevenson, Do-Ho Suh, Torolab, Shirley Tse, Jeffrey Vallance, Mark Wallinger, Olav Westphalen, Xu Zhen, Zhang Huan
Information and specifications for the proposed monuments will be available in the exhibition publication.
Capp Street Project
London-based artist Tariq Alvi makes collage-like installations that map the complexities of contemporary social, emotional, and psychological landscapes.
Recycling and recontextualizing printed ephemera (club flyers, restaurant menus, jewelry catalogs, newspapers, classified ads, and maps), Alvi's fragileâ€”and often ephemeralâ€”works operate at the threshold of private and public life.
Alvi's work addresses issues of ethnic and sexual identity, seeking to reconcile the often contradictory impulses of reality and desire.
Alvi is the 2005 Capp Street Project artist-in-residence at the Wattis Institute.
Articulating a complex and hallucinatory California Gothic, Burdin's video installations and drawings explore a kinship between fact and fantasy, between the conventions of pop music and marketing and the obsessive desires of fans. His videosâ€”many of which are made in the 1973 Chevy Nova in which he has lived during much of the past decadeâ€”are characterized by a restlessly nomadic aesthetic.
Featuring jittery but fluid handheld camera work and the growling voices of Burdin's various alter egos, these videos tour the urban and desert landscapes of Southern California, while investigating the interior of the automobile as a charged psychological space.
Image: Thomas Hirschhorn, The Road Side Giant Book Project, 2004. Courtesy the artist.
Kent and Vicki Logan Galleries, California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth Street