The Neighbors at American University Museum

THE NEIGHBORS April 1 – June 1 Curated by Zoë Charlton and Tim Doud at the Katzen Arts Center at American University, Washington, DC In Residence: The Neighbors is the third and final installment ofa three part colloquia series highlighting the reciprocity between the Washington art community and academic institutions in the DC metro area. The exhibition, co-curated by professors Zoë Charlton and Tim Doud, illustrates a cross-section of nineteen talented and diverse teaching artists from thirteen universities and colleges in the area. Artists: George Washington University: Julia Brown, Dean Kessmann George Mason University: Mia Feuer Georgetown University: John Morrell Catholic University: Jonathan Monahan Howard University: David Smedley Corcoran College of Art and Design: Ivan Wittenstein James Madison University: Jesse Harrod University of Maryland Baltimore County: Calla Thompson MICA: Zlata Baum, Lauren Adams, Fletcher Mackey, Sangram Majumdar Towson University: Nora Stuges, Amanda Burnham Bowie State University: Gina Lewis McDaniel College: Steve Pearson University of Maryland, College Park: Hasan Elahi, Dawn Gavin Speculative Column (Modified reproduction of the column from the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, National Archives, Washington, D.C.) Gouache on vinyl 4′ x 17′ Katzen Center for the Arts, American University, Washington, D.C. 2014 The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. displays the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights. These three documents, known collectively as the Charters of Freedom, have set forth the rights of the American people for more than two hundred years. My artwork for the Katzen Center for the Arts at American University in Washington, D.C. is a reproduction of one of the columns flanking the documents within the rotunda. The columns boast an eagle as a decorative finial, an enduring symbol of American patriotism and supreme power and authority. An addition to the column is a commonly found surveillance camera. The juxtaposition of these references within the wall painting point to the ongoing challenges to basic rights of American citizens as we enter a hyper-vigilant surveillance state. As technology advances and rights are usurped in the name of national security, and because privacy is linked to freedom of expression and many other rights, the combination of the column and the camera reveal an inherently irreconcilable violation of the Bill of Rights. Like much of my other artworks, Speculative Column illustrates an interest in cross-examining decorative symbolism for contradictions in the face of real and present conditions. The artwork is executed in paint on adhesive-backed vinyl and installed in the main entrance to the museum’s architectural interior. The effect for the viewer is similar to Hans Holbein’s 1533 painting ‘The Ambassadors’, where the anamorphic skull snaps into view in extreme perspective. For Speculative Column, however, the correct viewing perspective is impossible to achieve within the museum architecture.]]>

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