Two Australians, artist Fiona MacDonald and curator Ricky Subritzky collaborate on a series of three installations in New York City. Entitled LOBBY, FOLD and SPIN, the provocative installations are part of an international project that The Washington Post has called “charged” and “striking” and The Sydney Morning Herald has described as “subtle and beautiful.”
Installed in the lobby of the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, America’s last Liberty Tree forms an immense mandala-like canopy circled by doves and hawks, while the surrounding space is completely wrapped with 900 yards of silk drapery depicting a kaleidoscopic crowd scene. In this installation, MacDonald and Subritzky contemplate relationships between citizens and governments, and the influential sway of lobby groups in the struggle between liberty and authority.
In Daneyal Mahmood Gallery, a series of lamps are transformed into zoetropes; precursors to cinema, zoetropes use cylinders set in motion to animate still images. Riffing on the mendacity of political “spin,” and satirizing mass media’s problematic predilection for simplification, MacDonald & Subritzky animate imagery drawn from current affairs. As each trope spins erratically – a hand passes a buck; someone does a back flip; somebody else fans the flames; and the canopy of American’s last Liberty Tree spins in perpetuity.
Installed at the Peter Fingestin Gallery at Pace University, MacDonald and Subritzky bring home the implications of the accumulation of property. This second installation immerses observers in intricate, insidious and repetitive patterns enfolding the heady mix of capitalism and militarism into domestic flows and architectures. In a disquieting tableau, a rocking chair and light shade merge in a wallpapered flurry of falling leaves and ascending warplanes. A drape repeats a “geophysical survey of lurid magnetic intensity data” overlaid with a crystalline motif of B-1B bombers. A grid of 50 paper shopping bags, a bag-flag, is silhouetted with birds of prey. And the last Liberty Tree flutters on a wall covered with US one dollar bills, and looks on a shadowy rug below.