Ariel Orozco, Contrapeso, 2003. Courtesy of Parsons – The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center.
Parsons The New School for Design will present a timely exhibition exploring democracy as a global brand in OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding. On view October 16, 2008 through February 1, 2009, the exhibition inaugurates the first fall season at The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons’ new venue for art and design exhibitions and public programming. The exhibition is curated by Carin Kuoni, the director of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School, and features work by an international roster of emerging and established contemporary artists including Yael Bartana, Paul Chan, Aleksandra Domanovi, Sam Durant, Liam Gillick, and Judi Werthein. OURS also features an online gallery of works curated by Rhizome Curator-at-Large Marisa Olson, and a series of workshops, performances and new commissions.
“The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center was conceived as a place where art and design would inspire dialogue on some of the most important issues of our times—reflecting the broader philosophy of The New School,” said Parsons Dean Tim Marshall. “With the upcoming elections, we felt it was important to address some of the political, economic, social and cultural issues that go hand in hand with democracy in this day and age. The interactive nature of this exhibition will engage both our students and the general public in this dialogue.”
OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding examines the desires generated and promoted by democracy as a brand—such as choice, participation, freedom of expression, a sense of belonging, and the promise of individual success, all embodied in the notion of “liberty”—and looks at how and where these desires find fulfillment or are displaced. The exhibition also investigates both aesthetic and political systems of representation developed in response to these desires, as well as those power structures that run parallel to a democratic government. “When the United States began its war on terrorism, it also announced a ‘war of ideas’, a campaign to disseminate American values of democracy overseas,” said exhibition curator Carin Kuoni. “This exhibition explores what this global brand stands for and how it is interpreted both here and abroad. It investigates both the illusion and the promise of democracy.”