The sculptures in this gallery are often referred to as “assemblages.” Making an assemblage—which involves combining like and unlike things found in the everyday world rather than creating entirely anew—can be a political gesture. By reframing and even subverting American cultural icons and stereotypes, the works in this room, in very different ways, call attention to the United States’ ongoing history of violence against its own subjects. A similar mode of critique pervades drawings and performance-based photographs that are both brutal and incisive.
Although many of the artworks on display were made in the late 1980s and early 1990s—a period of dissent against decades of conservative government in the United States—the concerns they raise remain urgent.
Organized by Paulina Pobocha, Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, with Gee Wesley, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance, Lydia Mullin, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture, and Dana Ostrander, former Curatorial Assistant, Department of Photography.