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Image War: Contesting Images of Political Conflict

CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street, 212-817-8157
May 19 - June 25, 2006
Reception: Friday, May 19, 6 - 8 PM
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A curatorial project by the Whitney Independent Study Program.

Featuring work by fourteen contemporary international artists, Image War: Contesting Images of Political Conflict highlights recent artistic practices that explore media representations of war and conflict. Artists included are Willie Doherty, Claire Fontaine, Coco Fusco, Rainer Ganahl, Joy Garnett, Jon Haddock, Amar Kanwar, Dinh Q. Lê, An-My Lê, Radical Software Group (RSG), and Tamiko Thiel & Zara Houshmand.

The works in the show were all made since the first Gulf War, but focus on conflicts ranging from the Vietnam War through the current war in Iraq. The artists in the exhibition examine how media coverage of political violence often determines our understanding of conflicts.

In Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1995/1997) the artist Johan Grimonprez mines archives of televised airplane hijackings, remixing the material into a compelling, disco-driven video narrative that rethinks depictions of air terror.

In Rainer Ganahl’s Afghan Dialogs series (2001-03), two of which are included in Image War, the artist took taglines from the bottom of cable news channels during the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. He then embroidered them into large fabric banners, which were sent to Afghanistan, where residents were given the opportunity to stitch their own responses to these taglines.

Joy Garnett’s painting Kill Box (2001) appropriates a night-vision image of a tank from the First Gulf War as made iconic by television coverage. This painterly interpretation highlights a dissonance between the digital image and the human touch.

In conjunction with the exhibition three special events are planned. On Tuesday, May 23, 7- 9 pm in the Martin E. Segal Theatre of The Graduate Center, artists Joy Garnett and Alexander Galloway will discuss modes of appropriation in their artwork. On Tuesday, May 30, 7- 9 pm in the Martin E. Segal Theatre of The Graduate Center, Coco Fusco will host the New York premiere of her new video Operation Atropos. And on Saturday, June 8 at 5:30 pm neuroTransmitter will lead a performance which will begin at The Art Gallery.
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