Things Fall Apart takes its title from a line in a well-known poem by William Butler Yeats that warns of ominous forces unleashed in the political vacuum following World War I. The poem reverberates in twentieth and twenty first century literature and culture, from Chinua Achebe's eponymous novel about African societies giving way under colonialism, to Joan Didion's collection of essays on California in the 1960s, to Oliver Stone's Nixon. Allusions to the poem regularly color news items, notably The Economist's cover story after the U.S. market collapse, and New York Times articles covering the failed war in Iraq, the increasing dysfunction of the U.S. right wing political axis, and the spread of the current economic crisis to global markets.
If Yeats' poetic imagery and its subsequent iterations seethe with foreboding and even despair, by contrast, the international group of artists presented in Things Fall Apart mark precipitous global power shifts in their work while positing the darkest moments--when things fall apart--as salient points of departure for change.
Standout works included a selection from Garnett's Three Gorges series that "re-invents the candy-coated public relations photographs from the Yangtse Three Gorges Development Corporation website in a series of oil paintings that show the earth itself giving way in the widening gyre of China's monumental and controversial public works project."
Joy Garnett, River (5), 2008, oil on canvas, 26" x 26"
I was also struck by Jenny LeBlanc
's The Line That Binds
, a series of prints that are hung at ankle height as part of a salon style display of work from The Front
, a New Orleans art collective.
The Line That Binds, each print 24" x 18," intaglio on wallpaper
Our Condolences, vol 1 by Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida is being shown in the hallway between the Winkleman Gallery and Schroeder Romero. The set of 6 greeting cards (produced in an edition of 100) is the inaugaral offering publication of Compound Editions, a collaboration between Winkleman & Schroeder Romero. The cards, with their biting humor, prompted some lulz.
card #6 front
card #6 inside