This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.
Earlier this spring I had the pleasure of touring New Orleans with two art and architecture historians from Tulane University. We of course spent a significant amount of time wandering the Lower 9th Ward, gawking at the rescue hieroglyphics spray painted on abandoned houses, and generally participating in what seems to be the booming industry of trauma tourism. But we also found time for art. In particular, we spent part of one afternoon with KKProjects, an exhibition space composed of six previously abandoned houses in the St. Roch neighborhood.
Founded by Kirsha Kaechele, KKProjects offers each of its spaces for three-month site specific installations, working with local, national, and international artists to develop locally-integrated, conservation-focused work. Currently on view at KKProjets is Knead, an urban farm/sustainable living project, and Safe House, a home converted into a giant safe that stores Mel Chin’s ongoing Pay Dirt. Both projects purport to engage local concerns. Pay Dirt invites participants to draw their own “fundred dollar bill” in an effort to amass 300 million of these fake notes to exchange with congress for $300 million of the real thing—the estimated cost to clean the lead out of New Orleans’ soil. Across the street, Knead hosts a backyard garden and what looks like a strange indoor jungle gym, though on explanation turns out to be a human-powered bread maker. Participants swing from poles to grind corn, which piles up on the floor to be collected by the gallery attendants and eventually turned into bread.
Party Headquarters: Voting is Just the Beginning
Curated by Eleanor Heartney and Larry Litt
September 26 – November 4, 2008
Pratt Manhattan Gallery
Joining the numerous election-oriented exhibitions that have opened around New York City since the start of the season, the Pratt Manhattan Gallery departs from a prevalently grave approach to the topic and focuses instead on satirical politics. The works included in Party HQ range from simple renditions of iconic images to sharper critiques of political personalities.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Allan Wexler has constructed a collapsible voter registration booth comprised of several pegboard sheets that are held together with an American flag. Starting August 28th and until the final day of voter registration in early October, Wexler erected the booth in various locations around New York City in order to encourage and enable people to register to vote in the upcoming general election. He purportedly registered 500 new voters through his efforts, some of which are documented in the exhibition. Also on view are three black ink drawings by veteran artist Arnold Mesches, which depict scenes from the RNC and DNC — another form of political dedication. Capturing their true zeitgeist, Mesches outlines the material density and chaotic atmosphere inherent to these intense events.