EACH MEMORY RECALLED MUST DO SOME VIOLENCE TO ITS ORIGINS
William Anastasi, Aram Bartholl, Adam Bateman, Mike Bouchet, Roisin Byrne, John Divola, Constant Dullaart, Urs Fischer, Cyprien Gaillard, Venessa Gromek, Daniel Kingery, John Kleckner, Lazaros, Stefan Lesueur, David Levine, Jan Mancuska, Lucia Nimcova, Jorge Peris, Benja Sachau, Fred Sandback, Robert Smithson, Nedko Solakov, Kasper Sonne, Jared Steffensen, Michael Stevensen, Piotr Uklanski, Ignacio Uriarte, Lawrence Wiener
When the US troops invaded Iraq and dismantled the civil infrastructure, museums were the first to be looted. Several thousand years of cultural property were converted into clumsy panicked seconds of impossible investment. Art is the first thing an affluent culture flaunts and the last thing a desperate society needs. Priceless becomes worthless in a blink, a panic, a dip or a correction.
As a child I used to break into abandoned homes, enter unlived properties within suburbs fresh-built after a tornado, or spelunk in newly laid culverts buried beneath whatever neighborhood we had just moved to. A thin pane of glass and a second guess separates most from opportunity or anarchy. My first Lascaux caves were the cryptic scrawls of hobo graffiti and depraved Satanist vandal chambers deep in the sewer or in that dark place up on the hill. Some of the latter phenomena presumably manifested as a kind of hoax prop or pre-evidence resulting from the frightened belief or desire in the existence of evil -- like a legend preceding its actual occurrence.
Utah boasts a prolific number of abandoned towns and places where the ghost was long ago given up. Slowly these locations recalibrate to earth time or are flattened for strip mine development. They are each a snapshot of their own last day turned into an unromantic and brutal forever.
Taking its title from a quote in Cormac McCarthy's book The Road this exhibition imagines an existence preserved in a photo, the duration of a gesture when time forgets, the mythologically singular experience in the potential discovery, and the shelf-life of art after civilization. It articulates a language of art with decline, abandon and aftermath as its primary condition. Each project employs the aesthetics of the fall through personal mythologies as a new order.
Cult fictions from Jonestown to Zion, an anthropology of graffiti from Lascaux to Hobo, the Alamo of Tony Shafrazi, the gloryhole of Piotr Uklanski, the moneyshot of Lawrence Wiener, the buckshot of Jan Mancuska, the mugshot of Roberto Cuoghi, the curse of Master Mahan, the Unabomber's hideout, ancient aliens & out-of-place artifacts, the mouthpiece of Geronimo, the gold from Goonies, the sack of Iraq, the rediscovery of Lemuria, the mark of Yahweh, and a shaman's last stand. Beginning without an end at a ruin undisclosed. Should you find it, walk away and abandon the results.