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A.J. Bocchino, New York Times (Spanish American War/Iraq War), 1898 + 2003 and Newsweek (U.S. Presidents/Enemy Leaders), 1982-2006,

0.00156 acres
114 Smith Street, 718-935-1412
Brooklyn Misc.
February 18 - April 26, 2009

0.00156 acres is pleased to announce New York Times (Spanish American War/Iraq War), 1898 + 2003 and Newsweek (U.S. Presidents/Enemy Leaders), 1982-2006, a two-part solo show by New York based artist A.J. Bocchino. The projects are commentaries on America at war. The first part of the exhibition (on view until March 28) explores the similarities of the Spanish American War (1898) with the current Iraq War (2003) and with the broader concept of “war on terror”. Bocchino developed his visual statement motivated by political analysis such as Neal Gabler’s statement on (Feb, 2003): “The Iraqi war could be our very own version of the Spanish-American War of 1898—the conflict that United States ambassador to England John Hay called a splendid little war.” In the article “The Spanish American War: A proto-Iraq adventure” posted on the blogger also enumerates the similarities of the two wars: “… like in Iraq, we attacked Spain first. In neither case was America under attack… Both wars were heavily mediated. The Spanish American war had Pulitzer and Hearst Publications, and Iraq has Fox and CNN.

Militainment has been selling ads for a long time. Both wars involved concentration camps at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Both wars were extra-territorial. That is, like most American wars, American held territory was not jeopardized. Both wars were ostensibly waged on behalf of an oppressed people Cubans/Philipinos and Iraqis/Afghanis.”

In Spanish American War/Iraq War Bocchino excised the front-page headlines of the New York Times from 1898 that related to the Spanish American War and from 2003 that related to the Iraq War. He listed them chronologically and using color-codes he composed an impressive oversized print. The proportion, the shape and material he has chosen could resemble a flag, offering the viewer an additional interpretation of the artwork.

For the second part of the exhibition, Newsweek (U.S. Presidents/Enemy Leaders), 1982-2006 (on view from April 4 – April 26, 2009), the artist will present an installation composed of press images from Newsweek magazine featuring American military interventions over the last 25 years. This work contains all of the photographs printed in Newsweek of U.S. presidents and their foreign enemy leaders from 1982-2006, spanning ten different wars. These wars/conflicts include Lebanon (1982-4), Grenada (1983), Panama (1989), the Gulf War (1990-1), Afghanistan (2001-present), and the Iraq War (2003-present), among others.

The images are arranged on a table customized to fill the entire gallery space, color-coded by specific war, and numbered in Bocchino’s projects are driven by the analysis of mass media, as well as the processes of accumulation, archiving and record keeping. His work is often monumental and speaks of the common history, memory, institutional power structures, and the passage of time. He collects headlines and photographs from different media sources including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Newsweek. Bocchino uses this information as data for systems that generate complex drawings. The artist spends an immense amount of time photocopying microfilm from the Public Library in order to reproduce the exact font and size of the headlines and images. Over the past five years he has accumulated a huge mass of these photocopies and images, which he then sorts, organizes, catalogues, enters into the computer, and color-codes. Through this ongoing process current information is continuously added to each of his projects.
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