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Democracy in America, at the Park Avenue Armory

Installation view of exhibition at the Park Avenue Armory. Via jeangenetramsey's flickr stream.
Installation view of exhibition at the Park Avenue Armory. Via jeangenetramsey's flickr stream.

Democracy in America: Convergence Center
21 September - 27 September 2008
Park Avenue Armory - 643 Park Avenue

Signaling an enthusiasm for a potentially historic November this year, Creative Time opened Democracy in America: Convergence Center yesterday at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan, a week-long exhibition and event program in the landmark city-owned building. A year in the making and one of Creative Time's single largest public art efforts, Democracy in America, curated by Nato Thompson, presents over forty different projects, including several specially commissioned for the exhibition and executed around the country. On the fourth floor of the Armory, for instance, Sharon Hayes presents an installation that features video and sound recordings from two different public performances the artist staged at both the Republican and Democratic National Conferences earlier this year. Using simple formal devices like collective recitation, repetition and a poetic compositional style that negotiates the historical, confessional and fictional, Hayes' new work is both an emotionally compelling aesthetic experience and strongly politically discursive. Also recommended in the exhibition is Carlos Motta's video installation on political consciousness in Latin America, Martha Rosler's collage take-away, Steve Powers' creepy animatronic waterboard simulation (recently commissioned by Creative Time as part of Democracy... and installed on the boardwalk in Coney Island), documentation from Mark Tribe's Port Huron project - also commissioned - in which historic New Left speeches from the 60s and 70s were publicly performed, Chris Sollars' personal documentary on George Bush's 2004 re-election, Angel Nevarez and Valerie Tevere Another Protest Song karaoke installation, and a selection of secret special forces non-identification patches collected by artist and writer Trevor Paglen.

Strongly recommended this week, as part of Democracy in America's event programming, is writer and theorist Brian Holmes' talk on Wednesday at 7pm at the Armory. Holmes is currently at work on Continental Drift, a project on geopolitics and geopoetics that is part text, part seminar in development with 16 Beaver.