War Games

Group Show

Feb 27 – Apr 17, 1982

Komar & Melamid

Hitler Portrait, 1981

Artists


John Alexander
Eleanor Antin
Conrad Atkinson
Rudolf Barankin
Chris Burden
Margaret Harrison
Komar & Melamid
Todd Siler

Description


Our current exhibition, WAR GAMES, has been well received and has attracted a very large and diverse audience. We are pleased to announce that this show has been extended through April 17th.


WAR GAMES is a group show that focuses on issues of war. These artists approach the subject of war from various perspectives in different media including painting, drawing, sculpture, and installations. The following are statements by each artist:


JOHN ALEXANDER


This piece of sculpture entitled the KORPORATE KLANSMAN is a metaphor for individuals who may be perceived because of their uniform and physical appearance as symbols of wealth, taste, power, or influence but, who may actually be racists. This sculpture symbolizes the current resurgence in the United States of racism, divisionism, insensitivity, and an appalling lack of concern for humanitarian values.


ELEANOR ANTIN


Originally performed live in 1977, THE ANGEL OF MERCY was re-created for video in 1981. It is political melodrama produced and written by Eleanor Antin who heads a cast of 39 life-size painted masonite "performers". These Hussars, Lancers, Generals, and common soldiers enact the story of Eleanor Nightingale’s flight from the plush prison of her Victorian home to scale the heroic heights of War. In the Crimea she quickly learns "the private soldier’s situation is always hopeless for only Generals have hopes." She engages with the political issues raised by class inequities, patriotism, military injustice, peace and war. A sub-set of photographs from the album "My Tour of Duty in the Crimea" is also on exhibition. These photographs were shot during the 1850’s and provide a rare historical document of the type of traditional warfare that has become obsolete in our time. Several of the "masonite" performers have agreed to stand watch in the gallery for the duration of the show.


CONRAD ATKINSON


The way we celebrate war and death seems to me to pose problems not easily resolved. I’ve utilized drawings by the survivors of Hiroshima in the spirit in which Robert Burns used and revivified the Scottish traditional ballad, or on another level, Roy Lichtenstein’s use of the survivors paintings – texts which they use without self-consciousness in an attempt to describe the horror.


RUDOLF BARANIK


WAR GAMES an obsolete combination of the archaic word WAR and the contemporary word GAMES. 1. WAR, the physical mass annihilation of human beings, usually organized and conducted by national states and carried out by parts of the populations known as ARMED FORCES (obsolete). 2. The preparation of mass annihilation carried out by groups of retarded people known as MILITARY LEADERSHIP (military-obsolete). Groups of these retardees, known as GENERALS (archaic) had tehir headquarters in a five-faceted building near the Potomac River in the pre-civilization North American Empire. 3. WAR GAMES, used in pre-civilization era to describe maneuvers of mass-killing forces. 4. A name of an dexhibition held near the end of the 20th Century at the RONALD FELDMAN GALLERY in New York, believed to be a gallery (obsolete). The exhibition, as reconstructed through the archaic recording means of video and microfilm, is believed to have been of sardonic nature.


Dictionary of the English language, 24th century (excerpted by Rudloph Baranik)


NANCY BUCHANAN


For several years, my work has been based on investigations of a variety of social issues; I’ve worked primarily in the area of performance, but have also made videotapes, drawings, and executed installations. FALLOUT FROM TH NUCLEAR FAMILY is primarily a portrait of my father, Louis N. Ridenour Jr. He was a nuclear physicist whose life (1911-1959) spanned a period when science and its relationship to government and the military were rapidly changing. Because this peculiar time period was so central to my father’s life and because of the position he held (often consulting on defense matters) , I also hoped the piece could be seen as a "portrait" of social forces operating during the growth of the cold war. The ten books in the piece were compiled from my father’s papers and memorabilia—photographs, letters, articles, documents. I was attempting to sort through these things and reconstruct a sense of real life. I did not attempt to edit or summarize, as I felt this would destroy my father’s own voice running through the books. However, I added red and blue pages to offer other perspectives, and to give the viewer a visual "key" to move quickly through the books. The red pages contain quotations from research sources I consulted during my compilation, while the blue pages have personal memories.


CHRIS BURDEN


THE TALE OF TWO CITIES is two miniature city states constructed out of approximately 3,000 war toys collected from many different countries. The two cities are at war with each other and can symbolically read as: big versus small; industrial versus agricultural; masculine versus feminine; good versus evil.


MARGARET HARRISON


The exercise of power distorts human beings, mentally it deforms their minds. This exercise of power is indefinitely expendable and its ultimate expression involves distortion of the human body and deformation of societies. The power wielded in war is disguised by its transformation into abstractions and objects by games and guns. Human beings are objectified; human societies are turned into symbolic abstractions. Flags have in them human blood not as flat objects symbolizing all that is good in a society but symbolizing the powerful manipulation of human beings.


KOMAR & MELAMID


We hope that the traditions of totalitarian art will enrich the free world.


TODD SILER


Whether this model represents the Earth, or the Universe, or a plan view of a planetarium project, or even the inside of a single atom where only neutrons and protons are seated, it is entirely up to the viewer. It was originally conceived as part of a disarmament program, informing people of all ages and backgrounds as to the imminence of a worldwide nuclear holocaust and how to prevent it.


Now we accept the fact: "What is imagined is built; what is built is used." I accept the fact: We’re paying our own government to kill us. Accept the fact: "We, The People" still won’t prevent it!


from NUCLEAR WAR. CHILDREN!, 1981


The collage is composed of drawings made by children between the ages of 3 and 7, and are reproduced in "Analyzing Children’s Art" by Rhoda Kellog.

View Press Release

Nancy Buchanan

Fallout from the Nuclear Family, 1980

Nancy Buchanan

Fallout from the Nuclear Family, 1980

Chris Burden

The Tale of Two Cities, 1981

Komar & Melamid

Hitler Portrait, 1981

Margaret Harrison

Everyone for Themselves

Todd Siler

Nuclear War. Children!, 1981

John Alexander

The Korporate Klansman, 1981

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