THIS IS AMERICA (to be seen in the Kunstraum Potsdam from the 8th August to 5th September 2021) brings together 36 artists who were born partly in the USA, partly abroad and made the United States their adopted home. The exhibition, which mainly shows works from 2020 and 2021, reflects a global sense of uncertainty and offers a kaleidoscopic view of a country characterized by injustice and inequality. The artworks in THIS IS AMERICA represent a cross-section of various experiences and deal with a number of topics ranging from housing shortages and the opioid epidemic to domestic violence and police brutality.
Brooklyn-based artist Cristina BanBan (born 1987 in Barcelona, Spain), known as an up-and-coming artist for her excessive characters and emotional compositions, illustrates the chaos she experienced at a Black Lives Matter demonstration when police officers began to use excessive force to disperse the crowd. BanBan's largest work to date "US Summer 2020" communicates the anger and confusion that flooded the streets of cities in the USA after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other undocumented cases of police brutality.
The British-American artist Zoë Buckman (born 1985 in London, UK) exhibits two sculptures that show hanging boxing gloves, decorated with embroidery, home textiles, ribbons and bows and deal with the topics of female experience and resistance. Hanging on heavy industrial chains, these sculptures deal with misogyny and domestic violence by juxtaposing coarse materials and shapes traditionally associated with male aggression with delicate fabrics and handmade embroidery. "feather canyons" (2020), one of Buckman's largest groups of works to date, shows a vision of female strength that opposes gender expectations.
Timothy Curtis (born 1982 in Philadelphia, USA) addresses the social inequality exacerbated by the opioid epidemic in "Aw Man, You wouldn't believe me if I told you (A short story based in Philadelphia)" (2021).
The work is divided into two parts and illustrates how drug addiction and the resulting deaths and imprisonment have shortened millions of lives in the United States. On the right side of the picture, an orange prescription bottle spills pills with the inscription Poison (Poison) into the foreground. Two eyes look out behind the orange grid that covers the opening of the bottle and indicate a captured person. On the left, a tombstone whose surface is littered with stick figures is a gloomy monument to the increasing overdoses.
The topics that these three artists deal with seem to be different and yet represent all aspects of American experience. THIS IS AMERICA brings together a variety of perspectives and offers a multifaceted view of the political and cultural melting pot that the United States is today.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by DISTANZ, Berlin, with more than thirty statements from the participating artists as well as thematic essays by Kathy Battista and the New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay.
Farley Aguilar, Daniel Arsham, Cristina BanBan, Alex Becerra, Sharif Bey, Coady Brown, Zoe Buckman, Chloe Chiasson, Will Cotton, Timothy Curtis, Christina Forrer, Genevieve Gaignard. Mark Thomas Gibson, Alfonso Gonzalez Jr., Jameson Green, Caleb Hahne, Asif Hoque, Jarrett Key, David Leggett, Tony Marsh, Shona McAndrew, Louis Osmosis, Alina Perez, Cleon Peterson, Pat Phillips, Patrick Quarm. Kelly Reemtsen, Brie Ruais, Ilana Savdie, Mira Schor, Sojourner Truth Parsons, Raelis Vasquez, Charles Edward Williams, Peter Williams, Cosmo Whyte, Hiejin Yoo