November 6 – 14, 2020
SPAACES, Sarasota, FL
SPAACES is proud to present The Woods, a group exhibition of work by thirteen artists curated by Emiliano Settecasi, on view November 2020.
In June 1978, then congressional hopeful Newt Gingrich addressed the College Republicans at an airport Holiday Inn in Atlanta and assured them that they were fighting “a war for power.” The Republican Party’s biggest weakness in this war was, in his estimation, “that we don’t encourage you to be nasty.” Forty-two years later, the former host of The Celebrity Apprentice criticized his presidential election opponent by asking a crowd in Pittsburgh, “What the hell did he spend all that money on the plastic surgery if he's going to cover it up with a mask?” As the audience chortled, the number of American deaths as a result of COVID-19 surpassed 200,000. The medical consensus on the best way to limit the spread of the virus: wearing a mask. Republican leadership, now sufficiently nasty, had won the war for power, and the American people had lost.
In the four decades following Newt’s Holiday Inn speech, Republicans, heeding his advice, steadily became fascists, and Democrats steadily became Republicans. “Trickle down” economics trickled $50 trillion (trillion...with a “T”) from the mouths of the bottom 90% of the country to the offshore accounts of top 1%. The fossil fuel industry paid our leaders to ignore climate change as Anchorage recorded higher temperatures than Key West. The government spent more money on defense than the next 10 countries combined while crying poor mouth any time someone suggested universal healthcare. Lynchings were televised. Justice was scarce. In March 2020, when the majority of Americans committed to staying in their homes to slow the pandemic, most anticipated that after a few weeks of rationing toilet paper, learning about big cats, and putting some extra miles on their pajama bottoms, restrictions would ease, the virus would be under control, and we would be out of the woods.
As months passed, no viable national strategy for containing the virus emerged. Tens of millions, many of whom relied on employer-based health insurance, lost their jobs. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos saw his wealth grow by $73 billion while the rest of us saw George Floyd receive the death penalty for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill. A gender reveal party burned down the state of California. It became clear that we had been living in “the woods” long before the pandemic, and even if the virus were to disappear like a miracle, we would not be getting “out” any time soon.
In The Woods, thirteen artists share glimpses of the contemporary American condition—one which is defined not only by collective anxiety, righteous anger, and unjustifiable loss, but also resiliency and, for the time being, hope. Whether realistically, metaphorically, or ironically, the works speak to where we are, how we got here, and the uncertainty of where we are going, in a variety of media, including photography, painting, sculpture, and installation. The Woods adds color and candor to the nebulous experience suggested by the idiom from which it derives, acknowledging what our leaders have failed to: that the only way through our shared misery is together.
Featured Artists: Warren Cockerham, Evan Cooper, George Goldberg, Courtney Hartle, Junkyrd, Caroline King, Eric Ondina, Andres Ramirez, Manny Rangel, Erika Schnur, Ron S Dot, Taylor O. Thomas, Ian Wilson
May 18 – June 7, 2019
QUAID, Tampa, FL
QUAID Gallery presents Rapscallion, a group exhibition of work by thirteen Tampa-based millennial artists.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that humanity only has eleven years to cut carbon emissions to zero if we want to avoid the catastrophic repercussions of warming the planet above 2℃. The three richest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the country combined. The internet both radicalizes our family members, and ensures that an egg holds the world record for most likes on Instagram rather than Kylie Jenner. Rapscallion observes a civilization on the cusp of total collapse and replies, “yikes, lol… mood.”
In Rapscallion, thirteen artists, working across media, come to terms with the realization that the world once promised to them for the easy price of “working hard” will probably shit its own asshole before the century ends. As with the Dadaists of the early 20th century who experienced the unimaginable horrors of World War 1 and the Neo-Dadaists who witnessed the emergence of consumer culture and mass consumption in the 1950s, the prevailing millennial impulse is to answer the cruelly dismal state of affairs by embracing its characteristic absurdism. However, unlike the Dada and Neo-Dada movements, Dada 3.0 (💩.0) is made up of artists who know no world other than one defined by constant war, economic anxiety, unabashed consumerism, and the awareness of our collective impending doom courtesy of our parents’ generation’s brazen stupidity, greed, or both.
A shared acknowledgement of this reality unites the work in Rapscallion, which ranges from irreverent to absurd to completely meaningless. In equal parts critique and celebration, we embrace the unease and uncertainty of the contemporary moment, preparing ourselves in case we fail to reverse course in time. Rapscallion cozies up to both a new nihilism and a familiar materialism. If this is all there is, if this is the best we can do, then we would prefer it be a Balenciaga Triple S melting on the pavement underneath us.
Featured Artists: Michael Andruzzi, Catalina Cheng, Rachel Coderre, Evan Cooper, Courtney Hartle, Junkyrd, Kate Kinder, Travis Knight, Macy Eats Paint, Jeanine Patrick, Libbi Ponce, Andres Ramirez, and Emiliano Settecasi