Politics Now: the art of sausage making
John Gutierrez, juror and curator
Juxtaposition means to place two things closely together, and in the artistic sense those two things are placed together to show contrast either visual or conceptual. In many ways that is the lynch pin of this show. National calls for art are by their nature a mixed bag and can often be upsetting to the curator, and gallery. In this case, it worked out. This show, “Politics Now” is a dialogue about our political system and our social and economic paradigms. The variety of work and radically different styles, methodologies, concepts, and aesthetic choices made by the artists was immense. Rather than seeing this as a detriment, I saw it as an opportunity to construct a narrative that is a metaphor for the political theater being played out in our living rooms on the evening news and on the world stage. The works are “separated” into vignettes, small intimate conversations that one might hear as one passes through the room to the bar area, at a social gathering, a polite conversation here, a colorfully worded discourse of opposing ideas there. This separation is meant to highlight the binary nature of our current political /social environment. A deep systematic shift to the far ends of our political and social-economic system has happened. There is now a strong sense of division and suspicion of anything or anyone that is the “other” from our ideological viewpoint. The democratic process is devolving, or at least the perception is that it is devolving into a brutish, xenophobic, “my dicks bigger than ours” pissing contest or a soft pseudo-utopian, utilitarian coward state, or somewhere in between. This show speaks to and tries to assuage that fear, I hope.