Tuesday 3 March 2015

Art from Elsewhere

Art from Elsewhere,

at the Waterhall


Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

An exhibition showcasing 19 international artists which considers themes of global change, postcolonial experience and dissent.

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (You have Searched and Destroyed), 1982
Through her series of images utilising the forms of advertising, Barbara Kruger demonstrated that art could serve a new, directed, social and political agenda. She appropriated the idioms of advertising to reveal and subvert. Her most famous slogan is 'I shop therefore I am'. She re-located her work beyond the gallery to public kiosks, billboards and mass transit, reaching a much wider audience.

Nancy Spero, I Died at Rodez, Under Electroshock, Artaud, 1969 (watercolour on paper)
These drawings belong to Nancy Spero's breakthrough series, 'War' (1966-70). Abandoning painting in 1966 as 'too masculine a medium', Spero instead favoured cheap materials, paper, gouache, graphics and collage to create 150 drawings made in response to the war in Vietnam. These works mark a key moment for Spero, who was a leading feminist in New York and one of the first visual artists of her generation to represent war in terms of gender and sexuality.

Nancy Spero, Victims Thrown from Helicopter, 1968 (gouache and ink  on paper)

In this series of drawings the image of the helicopter and phallic-shaped bomb recur as symbols of masculine violence and oppression.

Kara Walker, Girl, 2006 (mixed media: collage and drawing)

Kara Walker's work addresses issues of race and gender violence and the oppression of African Americans in the history of the United States. The eloganted weeping figure in this collage towers over a police officer carrying a young child. The work was made in response to the destruction and impact of Hurricane Katrina, in which most of the victims were from the African American community of New Orleans.

Jenny Holzer, Blue Purple, Arno Erlauf, 2007 (electronic LED texts in metal casing)

Jenny Holtzer employs language to make strong statements about war, politics and social issues. The text in Blue Purple, Arno Erlauf invokes the voices of victims and perpetrators of violence, highlighting the realities of war.

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