aac exhibition - PARADOX NOW! June 19 – August 22, 2009


Show Dates: June 19 – August 22, 2009 Opening Reception: Friday, June 19, 6 – 9 pm

PARADOX NOW! presents eight contemporary artists who view history as a fluid dynamic, in dialogue with and affected by the present, and subject to revision. These artists play with the audience's expectations, short-circuiting accepted narratives through historical reenactments, parodies, anachronisms, and other hiccups in the fabric of daily life.

Download a copy of the exhibition catalogue here

The artworks in PARADOX NOW! mimic the ways in which meanings are generated and preserved in our culture—thereby disorienting viewers and leading them to question how they have come to know what they think they know.

British filmmaker and artist Anna Lucas will be the AAC international artist-in residence this summer. For this show, she will be presenting her current book and film project, Little White Feather and the Hunter. The film explores the history—real and imagined—of Pocahontas, through the eyes of historians, native americans, and current residents of the Chesapeake Bay area ... as well as tourists who seem to know little or nothing about the iconic princess.

New York-based artist Josh Azzarella takes found images of traumatic historical events—Kent State, Abu Ghraib, lynchings—and, using Photoshop, removes the evidence of violence. What's left are pictures of unplaceable everyday landscapes and decontextualized onlookers and accomplices.

D.C.’s resident alternative art historian, A. Clarke Bedford, stages photos and creates phony artifacts for all sorts of outlandish art non-events. Featured in his AAC installation will be the work of the legendary neglected conceptual artist, Coleslaw Baklava, as well as a curio cabinet filled with musty-looking objects that are real, phony, or somewhere inbetween.

Baltimore artist Megan Hildebrandt will show video and photos from her “Steps" project, which attempts to connect two disparate immigrant populations, separated by time: Immediately following WWII, Polish and Eastern European immigrant women in Baltimore would emerge every Saturday to scrub the marble steps of their identical homes. For her project, the artist, in period dress and carrying a wash basin and scrub brush, asks the current residents of this community—now predominantly Latin-American or African-American—if she can perform the same task for them.

D.C.artist Ding Ren will present the contracts from her 2007 Replacement Project, in which Ren paid various people to take her place over the course of a given day. Participants were not asked to assume the artist’s personality or otherwise attempt to emulate her; they simply attended classes and other engagements as her autonomous stand-in.

In 2006, Orlando-based artist E. Brady Robinson purchased a Jerusalem Gold Pass for $100, granting her free year-round admission to The Holy Land Experience, a Christian theme park located across from the Mall of Millennia in Orlando, Florida. Robinson documented the interactions of the park’s visitors with the spectacle of a replica of ancient Jerusalem and daily live reenactments of the crucifixion of Jesus. Robinson is represented locally by Heineman Myers Contemporary Art.

New York artist Mark Tribe’s Port Huron project recreates famous left-wing political speeches in the present day. We will be showing video of his 2007 reenactment of a 1965 speech by SDS leader Paul Potter, "We Must Name The System," along with the complete printed text of the original speech. An actor passionately delivers the speech against the backdrop of the Washington Monument; the camera cuts between the actor and the assembled crowd, most of whom realize that this is a reenactment; others of whom seem a bit disoriented by the many references to our "current war in Vietnam."

And finally, for her newest project, Philadelphia sculptor Erin Williams has created an immense thirty foot scroll elaborately illustrating her family tree—which somewhat plausibly connects her to the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, but becomes increasingly ludicrous through time, eventually purporting to show that she is descended from Jesus Christ.

PARADOX NOW! is curated by AAC Director of Exhibitions Jeffry Cudlin.

Also showing:


New digital animations and the hand-drawn and painted cells from which they’re made by AAC resident artist Scott Hutchison. In the Wyatt Resident Artists Gallery.


Art from the DCAC arts collective. Curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow and Blair Murphy, the show will feature Deborah Carroll-Anzinger, Peter Gordon, Lisa McCarty, Kathryn McDonnell, Michael Matason, Mark Planisek, Karen Joan Topping and Jenny Walton. In the Community Gallery.


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