East City Art Reviews: You, if no one else & The More Things Change at Arlington Arts Center

Wade Carey
East City Art
March 14, 2018

 

"The current exhibition at Arlington Arts Center titled You, if no one else. As an exhortation, the phrase comes from a poem by Tino Villanueva included in his collection, Chronicle of My Worst Years[1]. The poem urges victims and witnesses of destitution and oppression to “put your voice where your memory is,” and to tell how the spirit of rebellion enables ways to “unlearn the lessons of that teacher, your land’s omnipotent defiler.” The show presents a spectrum of examples of political expression intertwined with works of art. The exhibition was curated by Karyn Miller, who served as Director of Exhibitions at AAC until November of last year. She has since moved to a position as Public Space Activation Curator for the District of Columbia’s Golden Triangle Business Improvement District. In her catalog notes, Ms. Miller tells us that, “planning for this exhibition began with a curiosity about the imprint a Trump presidency will have on artistic expression.”[2]
Photography and video dominate the exhibit.  However, in an arresting departure, artist Roxana Alger Geffen has created a series of Dissent Collar sculptures woven together from materials at hand. She seeks to emulate Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.  Justice Ginsburg is noted for having worn her lace robe collar, normally reserved for occasions when she is reading dissenting opinions, on the day after the 2016 presidential election.  Dissent Collar #10 evokes delicacy and could be lightly worn, while others like Dissent Collar #16 and Dissent Collar #9 are larger, heavier and feel as if they might constrict the wearer’s actions. They represent a multiplicity of impulses to create tangible evidence, a residue of her anxiety and sorrow."

 

 

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pp.73-74


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