Telfair Museums will present Your Land/My Land ’12 to coincide with the 2012 American presidential election season. The exhibition will be staged simultaneously at art museums across the US.
Your Land/My Land is a reimagined installation originally presented by Jonathan Horowitz during the 2008 presidential election. At each location (as in ’08), red and blue area rugs will divide the exhibition space into opposing zones, reflecting America’s color-coded, political, and cultural divide. Back-to-back monitors will be suspended between the carpets, with one broadcasting a live feed of Fox News, the other of MSNBC. The installation will provide a location for people to gather and watch coverage of as well as talk about the presidential election. Its central trope is a divided United States swathed in only red and blue.
The text Your Land/My Land references This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie, which originally addressed issues of land ownership. According to Horowitz, “If race and gender were the defining themes of the ’08 election, economic policy and economic disparity will likely be the defining themes of the 2012 election. To some, museums are decidedly blue-elitist bastions of liberalism-to others, they are lynchpins of a capitalist art market analogous to other capitalist markets that have been collapsing around us.”
When Your Land/My Land opens, a portrait of President Obama, as the current representative of all Americans, will hang from the ceiling between the two sides and a portrait of Mitt Romney will sit on the floor. If Obama wins, the position of the two portraits will remain the same. Should Obama be unseated, their positions will be switched.
The installation will be customized for each particular museum and attention will be drawn to the role that cultural institutions can play in a democracy. Over the course of the exhibition, some participating venues will offer voter registration and host presidential debate screenings. Visitors may also connect through social media using the hash tag #YLML.
Additional participating venues include: Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis, MO; Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City, UT; New Museum, New York, NY.
About the Artist
Since the early 1990s, Horowitz has made art that combines the imagery and ambivalence of Pop Art with the engaged criticality of conceptualism. Often based on popular commercial sources, his work examines the deep-seated links between consumerism and political consciousness, as well as the political silences of postwar art. Recent solo exhibitions include “Minimalist Works from the Holocaust Museum,” Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland (2010), “Apocalypto Now,” Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2009), and the retrospective exhibition, “And/Or,” P.S.1, New York (2009).
Jonathan Horowitz’s “Your Land/My Land: Election ’12″ is made possible, in part, by the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibitions Fund.
Jonathan Horowitz; Your Land/My Land, 2008; 2 carpets: 1 red, 1 blue and Culture War (CNN vs. Fox), 2008. 2 plasma screens, 1 live feed CNN and 1 live feed Fox news; Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, NY.