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It ’s the Political Economy, Stupid

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Friday, November 01, 2013–Saturday, December 14, 2013

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Artists: Zanny Begg and Oliver Ressler; Filippo Berta; Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson; Julia Christensen; Paolo Cirio; Noel Douglas; Field Work; Yevgeniy Fiks, Olga Kopenkina, and Alexandra Lerman; flo6x8; Melanie Gilligan; Jan Peter Hammer; Alicia Herrero; Institute for Wishful Thinking; Sherry Millner and Ernie Larsen; Isa Rosenberger; and Dread Scott.

Chicago-born artist Dread Scott stands on Wall Street burning dollar after dollar before police show up in Money To Burn, just one of over a dozen contemporary videos and artworks that make up It’s The Political Economy, Stupid. A traveling exhibition co-organized by Oliver Ressler and Gregory Sholette, It ’s the Political Economy, Stupid features video, photography, installation, and drawing by artists from around the globe who critically address the “new norm” of the prolonged economic and political crisis that began in 2008. The title of the exhibition stems from James Carville ’s catch phrase, “It ’s the economy, stupid,” which became closely identified with Bill Clinton in his 1992 presidential campaign. Over three decades, neoliberal capitalism has driven most of the world ’s governments to partly or wholly abandon their roles as arbitrators between the security of the majority and the profiteering of the corporate sector. It ’s the Political Economy, Stupid proves that both art and artists can productively engage the seemingly insurmountable problems that stem from capital, crisis, and resistance.The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue (Pluto Press, 2013) featuring analysis and essays by Slavoj Žižek, Brian Holmes, Judith Butler, David Graeber, Julia Bryan Wilson, and John Roberts, among others.

It’s the Political Economy, Stupid is supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago; a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the Goethe-Institut Chicago.

The Program Sponsor Logo2

Postcard: It’s the Political Economy, Stupid

Poster: It’s the Political Economy, Stupid

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Stephen Gropp-Hess
Graduate Assistant
312 996 6114
gallery400@uic.edu

It ’s the Political Economy, Stupid

Gallery 400
November 1-December 14, 2013

Image: flo6x8, Body Versus Capital, 2011, video, 40:00 min. (still).

October 21, 2013—Chicago, IL—Featuring artists Zanny Begg and Oliver Ressler; Filippo Berta; Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson; Julia Christensen; Paolo Cirio; Noel Douglas; Field Work; Yevgeniy Fiks, Olga Kopenkina, and Alexandra Lerman; flo6x8; Melanie Gilligan; Jan Peter Hammer; Alicia Herrero; Institute for Wishful Thinking; Sherry Millner and Ernie Larsen; Isa Rosenberger; and Dread Scott. Chicago-born artist Dread Scott stands on Wall Street burning dollar after dollar before police show up in Money To Burn, just one of over a dozen contemporary videos and artworks that make up It’s The Political Economy, Stupid. A traveling exhibition co-organized by Oliver Ressler and Gregory Sholette, It ’s the Political Economy, Stupid features video, photography, installation, and drawing by artists from around the globe who critically address the “new norm” of the prolonged economic and political crisis that began in 2008. The title of the exhibition stems from James Carville ’s catch phrase, “It ’s the economy, stupid,” which became closely identified with Bill Clinton in his 1992 presidential campaign.

Over three decades, neoliberal capitalism has driven most of the world ’s governments to partly or wholly abandon their roles as arbitrators between the security of the majority and the profiteering of the corporate sector. It ’s the Political Economy, Stupid proves that both art and artists can productively engage the seemingly insurmountable problems that stem from capital, crisis, and resistance. Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson ’s video Lobbyists portrays the immaterial labor of lobbyists and activists in Brussels and Strasbourg, while Filippo Berta ’s Homo Homini Lupus video depicts a group of wolves fighting over the remnants of an Italian flag. Jan Peter Hammer ’s The Anarchist Banker resituates the framework of a 1920s short story in the present day as a banker ’s conversation with a television journalist and Melanie Gilligan ’s Crisis in the Credit System, short TV-style episodes that dramatize financial employee workshops and their aftermath, are based on extensive research and conversation with major hedge fund managers, key financial journalists, economists, bankers, and debt activists, while Zanny Begg and Oliver Ressler ’s The Bull Laid Bear combines interviews of economists and activists with hand-drawn animations, creating a semi-fictitious world of gangster bankers and corrupt courts. In less sobering visions, Institute of Wishful Thinking approaches crisis from the viewpoint of artists and designers who believe that they can identify and change social problems, while Julia Christensen ’s slideshow How Communities Are Reusing the Big Box picture the many reuses of abandoned superstores in the United States.

In a five-part video narrative titled The Revenge of The Crystals, Field Work depicts the aftermath of a revolution. In Body Versus Capital, flo6x8 presents footage of unannounced flamenco performances in banks, while Isa Rosenberger, in her work Espiral, pays homage to German dancer and choreographer Kurt Joos ’ The Green Table (1932), a ballet that engages the economic crisis of the 1930s, updating the references to include present day Austrian banking systems. Alicia Herrero questions the materiality of art and the limits of artistic genres within the ideological framework of capitalism in the video Bank: Art & Economies, while Yevgeniy Fiks, Olga Kopenkina and Alexandra Lerman ’s Reading Lenin with Corporations features readings of a 1916 Lenin text by corporate leaders and professors of economics. Sherry Millner and Ernie Larsen ’s video essay, Rock the Cradle, centers a crucial moment that unites numerous groups in a society. Shot in the streets of Thessaloniki, Greece and at an anti-fascist festival in Serbia, the video portrays youth, workers, grassroots union activists, illegal immigrants, and anarchists in a remarkable resistance against the socioeconomic crisis.

It ’s the Political Economy, Stupid is accompanied by a catalogue (Pluto Press, 2013) featuring analysis and essays by Slavoj Žižek, Brian Holmes, Judith Butler, David Graeber, Julia Bryan-Wilson, John Roberts, and others.

Related Programs:

Opening Reception, Friday, November 1, 5-8pm
Talk: Oliver Ressler, Gregory Sholette, and Brian Holmes, Saturday November 2, 2pm

Tours:

Gallery 400 offers guided tours for groups of all ages. Tours are free of charge but require reservation. Please complete our online form (accessible at gallery400.uic.edu/visit/tours) to schedule a tour of The Program. For more information, or to discuss the specific needs and interests of your group, please contact us at 312 996 6114 or gallery400@uic.edu.

Gallery 400 is supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the School of Art and Art History, the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago; and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Howard and Donna Stone and Jeff Stokols and Daryl Gerber Stokols provide general support to Gallery 400 programs. Additional support for It ’s the Political Economy, Stupid is provided by the Goethe-Institut Chicago.

Founded in 1983, Gallery 400 is one of the nation’s most vibrant university galleries, showcasing work at the leading edge of contemporary art, architecture, and design. The Gallery’s program of exhibitions, lectures, film and video screenings, and performances features interdisciplinary and experimental practices. Operating within the School of Art and Art History in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Gallery 400 endeavors to make the arts and its practitioners accessible to a broad spectrum of the public and to cultivate a variety of cultural and intellectual perspectives. Gallery 400 is recognized for its support of the creation of new work, the diversity of its programs and participants, and the development of experimental models for multidisciplinary exhibition.

EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

Zanny Begg and Oliver Ressler

The Bull Laid Bear, 2012
Video, 24:00 min.
Courtesy the artists

Filippo Berta

Homo Homini Lupus, 2011
Video, 3:00 min.
Courtesy the Artist

Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson

Lobbyists
, 2009
Video, 16:00 min.
Courtesy the artist

Julia Christensen

How Communities Are Reusing the Big Box, 2003
Slide show
Courtesy the artist

Paolo Cirio

Loophole for All
, 2013
Video, 14 min
Courtesy of the artist

Noel Douglas

We are the 1 Percent, 2013
Installation, dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist

Field Work

The Revenge of The Crystals, 2012
Video, 25 min
Courtesy of the artists

Yevgeniy Fiks, Olga Kopenkina, and Alexandra Lerman

Reading Lenin with Corporations
, 2011-12
Video, 60:00 min.
Courtesy of Reading Lenin with Corporations

flo6x8

Body Versus Capital
, 2011
Video, 40:00 min.
Courtesy Camping Production and anti-capitalist flamenco flo6x8, Seville, Spain

Melanie Gilligan

Crisis in the Credit System
, 2008
Video, Four episodes, 37:00 min.
Courtesy the artist

Jan Peter Hammer

The Anarchist Banker
, 2010
Video, 30:00 min.
Courtesy the Supportico Lopez Gallery, Berlin, Germany

Alicia Herrero

Bank: Art & Economies,
2010
Video, 40:00 min.
Courtesy the artist

Institute for Wishful Thinking

Post-Fordist Variations, 2011
Posters, video
Courtesy the artist

Sherry Millner and Ernie Larsen

Rock the Cradle
, 2012
Video, 55:00 min.
Courtesy the artists

Isa Rosenberger

Espiral-A Dance of Death in 8 Scenes
, 2011-12
Video, 11:00 min.
Courtesy the artist

Dread Scott

Money to Burn, 2010
Video, 3:28 min.
Courtesy the artist

Oliver Ressler (born 1970) is a Vienna-based artist and filmmaker who produces installations, public projects, and films on issues such as economics, democracy, global warming, forms of resistance, and social alternatives. Ressler ’s ongoing project, Alternative Economies, Alternative Societies, focuses on strategies and models for economies and societies that reject capitalism. The first iteration of this project began in 2003, in Ljubljana, Slovenia, with five single-channel videos in which the artist interviews economists, political scientists, and historians. The work now consists of sixteen videos, with exhibitions in São Paulo, Vienna, Berlin, and Eindhoven, among others. Ressler ’s most recent film, Leave It in the Ground (2013), commissioned by the 2013 Lofoten International Art Festival, explores ecological and humanitarian disasters caused by global warming, and their long-term implications in society and politics. His work has been featured in over 150 exhibitions, including ones at the Pori Art Musuem, Finland; Museums of Bat Yam, Israel; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca; and Kadist Foundation, Paris. In 2002, Ressler received ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe ’s International Media Art Award for his film, This is What Democracy Looks Like!

Gregory Sholette (born 1956) is a New York-based artist, writer, activist, academic, educator, founding member of the Political Art Documentation/Distribution group, a progressive artists ’ resource and networking organization based in New York from 1980 through 1988, and REPOhistory, a collective that created site-specific works highlighting forgotten histories between 1989 and 2000. He consolidates art practice with social commentary, tearing down the boundaries between art and life. His most recent installations include ?????? ??????? (Exposed Pipe) for the American University of Beirut Art Galleries; Torrent for Printed Matter, Inc., New York; iDrone for cyberartspace.net; 15 Islands for Robert Moses for the Queens Museum of Art; and the traveling installation, Imaginary Archive. His recent books include Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture (Pluto Press, 2010) and the catalogue for It ’s The Political Economy, Stupid (Pluto 2013), co-edited with Oliver Ressler. The first episode of his graphic sci-fi novel, Double City, was featured in Frieze (Issue 156, June-August 2013), while the second episode is printed in Shifter ’s “Other Spaces” issue (October, 2013). He is a frequent lecturer and seminar leader in the US and abroad, an Assistant Professor at Queens College and The Graduate Center at City University of New York, a participant in Social Practice Queens, a member of Gulf Labor Coalition, and serves as an academic adviser for Home Workspace Program, Beirut.

Ciezadlo, Janina. “Review: It ’s the Political Economy, Stupid/Gallery 400.” November 19, 2013. http://newcity.com

Kadlec, Alexandra. “Gallery 400 // It’s the Political Economy, Stupid.” November 19, 2013. http://blog.expositionchicago.com

Levitt, Aimee. “The art of making history.” October 28, 2013. http://www.chicagoreader.com

Hudgens, Christopher. “Episode 428: Oliver Ressler and Gregory Sholette.” November 11, 2013. http://badatsports.com