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Susan Hamburger, In Situ

Cheryl McGinnis Gallery
555 Eighth Avenue, Suite 710, at 38th Street, 212-722-1144
Hell's Kitchen
September 12 - October 20, 2006
Reception: Tuesday, September 12, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Appalled by the news of the Bush administration’s plans for a palatial U.S. embassy in war-torn Iraq, Susan Hamburger’s response is a pun-filled site-specific installation that transforms Cheryl McGinnis Gallery into a faux late-18th century style “embassy” room. With a sardonic look at U.S.-Iraqi politics, she has painted two large-scale panels entitled, It’s Not Just A Job, It’s An Occupation, Parts I & II. Using the Croome Court Tapestry room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a template, Hamburger addresses the issues of cultural imperialism, government power and corruption within the framework of lushly painted Rococo imagery. In Part I, the original medallions based on Boucher’s paintings of the elements are replaced by two of Saddam Hussein’s overthrown palaces as Bush, Cheney and Rove cherubs hover around a vase painted with the dictator’s likeness; Part II, features the new U.S. embassy under construction. Within the setting, Hamburger also includes The Cabinet, a trompe l’oiel dinnerware set drawn in ink on paper and based on one of Spode’s Imperialware motifs. Housed in a foam board cabinet, the collection portrays members of the Bush administration. Period elements, such as wainscoting and crown moldings, also made of foam board, tie together the installation.
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