Political Art for President’s Day Weekend

Not here for President's Day? These three new art shows will feed your anti-establishment spirit

by Samuel Anderson | February 17, 2018 11:35 am

In today’s climate, “President’s Day” feels more like a reminder of the current administration’s untold calamities than a case for proud remembrance. And what better way to fill the void left by our dashed “Oprah 2020” dreams than to engage with art? After all, it was art – namely the healing power of Kehinde Wiley[1] and Amy Sherald’s[2] portraits of the Obamas – that gave us all a patriotic booster shot last week. So, in the spirit of true independence, why not honor your president (whoever your president[3] may be) by visiting these must-see, politically charged art exhibitions.

Mark Bradford at Hauser & Wirth[4]

Opening today at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, Mark Bradford’s exhibition of frenetic new works promises to explore the political capabilities of abstract art. The show is an anticipated follow up to the South Central LA-based artist’s recent splashes—an immersive piece at the Venice Biennale[5] told from the perspective of Thomas Jefferson’s slaves, and We The People (2017), a site-specific painting made up of 32 fragments containing the entire US Constitution.

Mark Bradford, Tonight…We Feed!

Mark Bradford, Bird of Paradise

Mark Bradford, I heard you got arrested today

New Museum Triennial – “Song for Sabotage” [6]

As its title suggests, the New Museum’s fourth triennial gives voice to young artists’ questioning of authority—many who exhibiting in the U.S. for the first time. Don’t miss Tomm El-Saieh, an artist of Haitian-Palestinian descent, or Hardeep Pandhal, an Indian Sikh whose video Career Suicide irreverently skewers imperial powers.

Hardeep Pandhal, Pool Party Pilot Episode, 2018

Tomm El-Saieh, Tablet, 2017–2018

Mark Morrisroe (1959-1989) | Boy Next Door (Beautiful But Dumb)[7]

What better antidote to Trump than communing with a founding member of the Boston School—a gang of politically active artists who sprouted in the wake of Ronald Reagan’s mishandling of the AIDS crisis? Late photographer Mark Morrisroe offers a particularly poignant look back at the period with his raw, ephemeral photos of Boston’s queer and gender-bending youths.

Mark Morrisroe, Pat Hearn—Shaved Head on Highway, 1979 © Estate of Mark Morrisroe

Mark Morrisroe, Blow Both of Us, Gail Thacker and Me, Summer , 1979 © Estate of Mark Morrisroe

Mark Morrisroe, Hello From Bertha, 1983 © Estate of Mark Morrisroe

Main image: Dan Creto © Tumblr[8]

Written by Samuel Anderson[9]

Endnotes:
  1. Kehinde Wiley: https://www.instagram.com/p/BfGvZEhl0Xh/?hl=en&taken-by=kehindewiley
  2. Amy Sherald’s: https://www.instagram.com/p/BfHLAtsHjPP/?taken-by=asherald
  3. your president: https://www.instagram.com/p/BfPDTxWFxH_/?hl=en&taken-by=ivormerlyknownas
  4. Mark Bradford at Hauser & Wirth: https://www.hauserwirth.com/exhibitions/3403/mark-bradford-new-works/view/
  5. Venice Biennale: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/nov/14/mark-bradford-artist-interview-picketts-charge-civil-war
  6. New Museum Triennial – “Song for Sabotage” : https://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/view/2018-triennial-songs-for-sabotage
  7. Mark Morrisroe (1959-1989) | Boy Next Door (Beautiful But Dumb): https://clampart.com/2018/01/boy-next-door-beautiful-but-dumb/
  8. Tumblr: http://dancretu.tumblr.com/post/162698821226/dancretu
  9. Samuel Anderson: http://dujour.com/contributors/samuel-anderson/

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