Yee-Haw Industries/Kevin Bradley, 2008, Presidential Wrestling, Hand printed letterpress, 42.5×30 inches. Courtesy of Pratt Manhattan Gallery.
Pratt Manhattan Gallery connects with the fall 2008 election campaign by presenting “Party Headquarters: Voting is Just the Beginning” (Party HQ), a political art exhibition, voter registration drive, and program of events, titled Pratt Falls: Political Satire at Pratt Manhattan, that represent a broad range of opinions about political media, the art of persuasion, the persuasion of art, and voting attitudes of vote-eligible citizens from September 26 – November 4, 2008. The exhibition and corresponding events are free and open to the public.
The exhibition, guest-curated by Eleanor Heartney and Larry Litt, includes contemporary work in painting, video, and drawings by contemporary artists Clark Clark(en), Kyle Goen, Cheryl Harper, Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung, Ligorano/Reese, Jack McLean, Arnold Mesches, Dan Mills, Tim Rollins and KOS, Claude van Lingen, Allan Wexler, and Yee Haw Industries/Kevin Bradley. The exhibition will also include a short historical presentation of political art.
The exhibition will go beyond the gallery with a voter registration booth designed by Pratt alumnus, artist, and architect Allan Wexler. It will tour various locations in New York City from August 28 – October 9 to encourage citizens to register for the upcoming election and to participate in the “Party HQ” experience. The booth, which is constructed from separate pieces of white pegboard held in place by an American flag, will make its first stop at Pratt’s Brooklyn Campus on Thursday, August 28 from 12 – 3 p.m.
“We’re trying to show the diverse ways artists can engage with the political system through different media and performances,” said guest curators Heartney and Litt. “Politics can be fun and satirical as well as serious business. Art and politics aren’t mutually exclusive; rather they represent two sides of extraordinary human endeavors.”
Eleanor Heartney has been an arts writer, curator, and cultural critic for over 20 years. She is contributing editor to Art in America and Artpress and author of numerous books about contemporary art, including Art and Today (Phaidon, 2008).
Larry Litt is a writer, performer, democracy activist, and curator who produced The Blame Show video and cable television series Polite, Politic, and Political, and the award-winning video Before You Don’t Vote: Advice to the Angry, Apathetic, and Alienated. He has curated several political art exhibitions, has been featured in the Venice, Moscow, and Gwangu Biennales, and has performed internationally in one-person shows.
The exhibition is the first of three at Pratt Manhattan Gallery that will focus on politics and media. “Zones of Conflict,” an exhibition of photographic and video-based artworks that focus on contemporary war, curated by T.J. Demos, will follow from November 19, 2008 – February 7, 2009. The third and last exhibition, “Broadcast,” which runs from February 20 – May 2, 2009, will explore the ways in which artists since the late 1960s have engaged with, critiqued, and inserted themselves into official channels of broadcast television and radio. “Broadcast” is guest curated by Irene Hofmann, co-organized by the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, and Independent Curators International (iCI), New York, and circulated by iCI.
More information on the exhibition and the corresponding series of performances, “Pratt Falls: Political Satire at Pratt Manhattan,” can be found at www.partyheadquarters.org.