"21st Century Fallen" by Will Sergeant
Comprised of 40 works by 16 artists, this exhibition is a celebration of our country’s vast perspectives and experiences, and the political climate that we all helped shape in just the last four years, both good and bad. Two thousand and eight is undoubtedly a year for the ages, acting for many of us as a poignant counterpoint to the tragedies of 2001. To pay homage to 2008, and the changes the events of this year had on our national psyche, Joy Wai and Ramses Granados have curated a selection of artists who collectively speak to the American experience like no other, with a mix of adoration, loss, critical analysis, and tongue-and-cheek humor. The roster includes Daniel Ash (painter/musician, of Bauhaus, Tones on Tail and Love and Rockets, UK), Will Sergeant (painter/musician, of Echo and the Bunnymen, UK), Shawna Ankenbrandt (photographer, US), Giuliano Bekor (photographer, US), Courtney Chavanell (photographer, US), Wen Chi Chen (painter, US), Jeff Forney (photographer, US), Victor Holt (photojournalist, US), Christian Hooker (painter, US), Phantom Street Artist (graffitist, US), Ramses (conceptual, US), Xany Rudoff (mixed media, US), Paul Seftel (mixed media, US), Jen Starr (photographer, US), Bruno Tamiozzo (photographer, Italy), and Joy Wai (photographer, US).
In Daniel Ash’s mixed-media painting Freedom Ain’t Cheap (2012), the artist appropriates a U.S. flag image and infuses the right-hand portion with a cluster—bordering on chaotic—of stars and blemished stripes, supplemented by a single flying saucer, referencing his own alien status in the U.S. For the peculiarly titled One (2012), Israeli-born photographer Giuliano Bekor portrays two shirtless, star-bespeckled men—one donning an elephant mask, the other a donkey—sitting across from each other, poised to battle in arm wrestling. Atop their centerpiece table a miniature Civil War battle commences around the men’s elbows, while their wrists are tied together with a tattered remnant of the American flag.
While American artists comprise the majority of the show’s lineup, A Portrait of America also speaks to the immigrant experience in this country. “In 2008 I became a U.S. citizen,” says Joy Wai, Founder of Joy Wai Gallery. “It was during this time that I found myself part of the American experience; but it was the 2008 election that moved and inspired me. It made me realize I was witnessing a true moment in American history. This is what led me to create A Portrait of America.”
Following opening night at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, A Portrait of America will move to Joy Wai Gallery, where it will remain until December 6.
WHEN: The opening reception for A Portrait of America will take place on Election Day eve: Monday, November 5, from 6:00 to 10:00 pm.
WHERE: Angel Orensanz Foundation, 172 Norfolk Street, NYC 10002
RSVP: By November 3, to firstname.lastname@example.org