AmeriKKKa the Beautiful
Curated by Raúl Zamudio
November 4-11, 2012
New York, NY
Anonymous Colonial American Painter
Nate F. America
Shahram Entekhabi with Mieke Bal
The idiosyncratic spelling of the exhibition titled AmeriKKKa the Beautiful may remind some of a particular, militant past: it partially appropriates the acclaimed musical recording by Ice Cube after he left the influential rap group N. W. A. But the exhibition is more than homage to one of the most compelling rap recordings of all time; for the title is used as framework to explore the notion of America by artists who work within the U.S. and abroad regardless of nationality. The transnational dimension of the exhibition is tangentially inspired by poignant observations of America that have come, for example, from foreigners such as the nineteenth-century French historian Alexis de Tocqueville, the twentieth-century French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, and the contemporary Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier.
Like the unique perceptions of America by de Tocqueville, Baudrillard and von Trier, the ways the exhibiting artists individually approach the exhibition’s theme is highly diverse, eclectic and personal. Some focus on contemporary issues in the American political and social landscape. Other artists address historical topics, while others still create work that is purely based on fiction and the imaginary. The exhibition distinguishes itself from recent shows about America by including artists from beyond the U.S. in order to offer a richer perspective on America and the myriad emotions that it engenders towards it including fear, despair, shame, hope, admiration, pride, love and hatred.
Lastly, the exhibition will have a particular installation structure where projected on a wall will be live feeds from both the Obama and Romney election headquarters during the day and evening of the Presidential election on November 6. Rather than having two distinct feeds, both will be superimposed on each other. There will also be live feeds covering the election from other stations including Al Jazeera in Arabic, Univision in Spanish, KBC in Korean and so forth. In displaying live feeds and re-situating them as ready-made performance art, the exhibited works will be layered with wholly other levels of meaning as they resonate within global contexts set against the backdrop of the American Presidential election.