Victory Over the Sun

Victory Over the Sun;1998; Mixed media site-specific installation. Locations: Whitney Museum Independent Study Program Studios, 1199 Health Care Workers Union Bread and Roses Gallery, Arts Related Industry Projects Gallery.

This Mixed media site-specific installation contained two 12 foot by 12 foot exposed drywalls with multiple canvases hung in the format of Malevich’s supremetist exhbition. Canvases contained a hybrid image of the 1199 Health Care Workers Union label and Charles Demuth’s modernist painting I Saw the Figure Five in Gold. There is an interesting and often forgotten system of influence between the early avant-garde and contemporary labor unions. For example, the red star commonly associated with Communist organizations was also adopted by many of the American Labor unions as a mark of solidarity during the early 20th century. I am interested in the possibility of re-imagining these connections. This work mines the work of the Russian Constructivists as a source of potential resistance and examines its reification in contemporary culture. The central stand of the installation consisted of a Lego replica of Tatlin’s monument to the third Communist International contained within a large plastic sphere measuring 48”x20”x20”. As the sphere rotated, fake snow circulated through the enclosure. This image oscillates between a nostalgic reminder of the failed utopian promise of the historical avant-garde and a sign of its commodification. The second location for this multi-site installation was created with the assistance of the Arts Related Industry Project and the 1199 Health Care Workers Union. This site specific installation was displayed at the 1199 Health Care Workers Union Bread and Roses Gallery and the ARIP Student Gallery and combined photographs taken by at-risk student populations of Manhattan High Schools on the concept of labor with an experimental constructivist display. This work was exhibited at the same time as Victory Over the Sun, with the intent of opening a dialogue between the different sphere of the art-market, education and labor.

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