In a somewhat different direction for my work, I’m pleased to have a new piece called The Buried in “Personal is Political is Personal,” a show of political art curated by radical artist and printmaker Sue Coe at 440 Gallery in Brooklyn. The show opened July 7 and is on until August 6.
Consisting of candles, flowers, an indistinct photo and other items, The Buried is a sidewalk memorial to forgotten and never known victims of police and other state violence. Those who aren’t on the long list of names we all can say now. It’s my first installation and the first time I’ve found visual expression for a long history of political engagement in my personal life. It’s an idea I had a year and a half ago and I’m grateful to 440 Gallery and Sue Coe to have the chance to realize it. I'm thinking of it as the first of a series.
The installation is intentionally ad hoc and makeshift looking. Except for the photo, which is relatively sophisticated in an understated way: the face fades into the background the way the subjects of the piece have faded, the closer you get the more indistinct it becomes. I wanted it to look like an actual memorial -- which it also is, only to those we’ll never know.
The response has been good so far. Some people have added items to it in the weeks since it opened, which is something I hoped for. It seems to tap into a deep need for mourning that’s very present in the society and has been for a while.
For those of you in Brooklyn, 440 Gallery (www.440gallery.com) is located at 440 6th Avenue in Park Slope. It’s open Thursdays - Sundays (Thursday and Friday, 4 - 7pm; Saturday and Sunday 11am - 7pm).