Curated by Yaelle Amir and Jeanne Gerrity
BRIC Rotunda Gallery is pleased to announce Sound Off, a group exhibition curated by Yaelle Amir and Jeanne Gerrity, recipients of the Gallery’s 2008 Lori Ledis Curator Fellowship. The exhibition features artists Daniel Heyman, Ashley Hunt, Bradley McCallum & Jacqueline Tarry, Jenny Polak, and Dread Scott.
The works included in Sound Off give voice to marginalized individuals whose desires and opinions have been typically overlooked or intentionally ignored. Taking advantage of their privileged positions in contemporary society, the participating artists have elected to dedicate their time, resources, and creative skills to providing a platform from which others can be heard. Through crucial collaborations initiated by the artists, subjects such as prisoners, detainees, radicals, and displaced citizens become empowered.
For his ongoing portrait series, Daniel Heyman has been traveling to Turkey and Jordan where he meets with former Iraqi civilian detainees, tracing their portraits and recording their stories of treatment at the hands of American captors. Artist and activist Ashley Hunt’s documentary video I Won’t Drown on that Levee and You Ain’t Gonna Break My Back (2006) investigates the treatment of inmates abandoned in the New Orleans city prison during Hurricane Katrina. In Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry’s performance and video Endurance (2003), 26 homeless youths stand motionless on a street corner in Seattle for one hour, in memory of their friends whose death resulted from a life lived on the streets. In her web project Hard Place (2001), Jenny Polak, in collaboration with Lauren Gill, reveals renderings of floor plans of undercover detention centers for the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States, obtained through interviews with former detainees. Dread Scott’s project Lockdown (2004) presents a series of black and white photographs with an accompanying audio of recorded interviews that give an individual face and story to several of the millions inmates that are locked behind bars.
Rather than asserting didactic positions, the projects in Sound Off are poetic and conceptual in nature and form. With physical and intellectual tools at their disposal, the artists create aesthetic and compelling works borne from the art of storytelling and listening. The works are at once political and personal— appealing not only to the viewers’ sense of justice, but also to that of basic human empathy. In conjunction with the exhibition, the film Body of War, produced and directed by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, will be screened on Thursday, November 20 at 7pm. The film presents an intimate and honest portrayal of Tomas Young, a paralyzed 25-year-old war veteran, who took a bullet to his spine during his first week in Iraq. The film follows Tomas as he comes to terms with his paralysis and shows his relentless determination to publicly speak out against the war and its consequences. Body of War has been the subject of numerous awards, including Best Documentary of 2007, National Board of Review, and the People’s Choice Award, Toronto International Film Festival. Yaelle Amir and Jeanne Gerrity are the fall 2008 recipients of the Lori Ledis Curatorial Fellowship, a program that fosters emerging curatorial talent in the field of contemporary art. Semi-annually, BRIC Rotunda Gallery dedicates the Project Space and full staff support to realizing the vision of an emerging curator selected through a call for nominees. The program is supported by family, friends, and professional associates of Lori Ledis, a pioneering Brooklyn art dealer and music producer.