Help ship very cool art, like Yumi Roth's "Pinata Cones" and Tim Eads' bike powered butter churn/toaster to the Perfect Citizen Show!
Venue: Arts Council of Princeton, Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, 102 Witherspoon St, Princeton , NJ 08542
Exhibition Title: Perfect Citizen
May 7th-June 24, 2011 (Sat. May 7 opening date and reception)
This exhibit, presented at the Paul Robeson Center by the Arts Council of Princeton (a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization), is guest curated by Debbie Reichard.
Perfect Citizen positions the artist as an observer, subversive and trickster with a practiced ability to access, and act on intuition.
While spotlighting the artist as having a unique vision, PC exemplifies universal human inventiveness, optimism and drive to create and see things anew. The overall attitude will be that, while these artists have devoted time to an art career, the viewer, too, has the ability to see their world in a new way, and thus turn it around.
We take so many situations for granted because it would require extra energy to really examine—and manipulate--our world minute by minute. But some artists have chosen to do this, and the rest of us can live vicariously through their actions, knowing, “I could have thought of that”. We marvel at what is out there under our noses to simply notice. The encouraging aspect of this kind of work is twofold—fortunately someone is picking up the slack, and taking notice, but they are also showing us, “this way of thinking is not beyond my abilities”, and can become a daily exercise.
The well-crafted, visually minimal object will predominate the show, which will include sculpture, tapestry, work on paper and video.
The money we raise will cover the show catalog, return shipping for the artists, guest lectures by some of the participating artists, and if all goes REALLY well the catalog writer and all the milk needed to make butter--from a local farm of course. Some of our gifts are costly to produce and ship, so we can def. use more than the 2500.00!
Paul Coors, Cincinnati, OH
Andrew Demirjian, NJ
Tim Eads, Phila., PA
Aron Johnston, Hamilton, NJ
Yumi Janairo Roth, Boulder, CO,
Chris Vorhees Cincinnati, OH
Erin M. Riley Phila, PA
Lucas Kelly, NJ
Debbie Reichard, Hopewell, NJ
Andrew R Wilkinson, Titusville, NJ (Artist and Kickstarter Photographer/Videographer)
Essayist: Chris Chang, senior editor of Film Comment, Lincoln Center http://www.filmlinc.com/fcm/poll/2007pollcritics.html
The Perfect Citizen in a Sea of Holes
By Chris Chang
Please allow me to introduce a few ideas from the brain of Theodor W. Adorno, one of the most formidable (not to mention gloomiest) of thinkers. The “barbarism of perfection” is a modern state of affairs that truly pissed him off. His anger, when he wrote the words in 1958, related to music—specifically to a few live performances that were, in his opinion, sterile. Why? Precision (perfection) had replaced expressivity. He attended a series of concerts (at least one conducted by Arturo Toscanini) and thought them soulless—as if the musicians were mechanically reproducing an already existing recording. Pink Floyd, or at least Roger Waters, knows a thing or two about this phenomenon. In 2011, “The Wall” will be rebuilt at Madison Square Garden (twice).
“The new fetish,” writes Adorno, “is the flawlessly functioning metallically brilliant apparatus as such, in which all the cogwheels mesh so perfectly that not the slightest hole remains open for the meaning of the whole. [Emphasis added] The performance sounds like its own phonograph record.” This quote, it must be noted, is a translation from the writer’s notoriously difficult variety of the German language—yet it retains uncanny poetry.
A Perfect Citizen, following Adorno, would be a completely administered non-individual—a brilliant cogwheel, perhaps, but still nothing more than a component embedded within the all-consuming Culture Industry. Popular art is still killing our souls. A present-day example: A Kanye West recording gets the first-ever “10.0” perfect score on the Pitchfork website. Therefore the world will be perfect when we are all Kanye. And Adorno would despise it. But I digress.
A traffic pylon, a thumbtack, a garden hose, a skid mark, and so on—these are not subversive or revolutionary materials. Or are they? Curator-slash-accomplice Debbie Reichard has conceived a show that seems to intuitively grasp the positive and productive dissonance at the heart of Adorno’s vast critique. Imperfection is actually visible everywhere. The Perfect Citizen, as an exhibition, is riddled with all sorts of cracks and ruptures—think of them as the “holes” that allow Adorno’s words to breathe once again.
The most disturbing thing about the Frankfurt School’s legacy is that their diagnosis of a sick and suffocating system in some ways turned out to be accurate. One can only wonder what they would make of the Internet. One of their more diabolical pronouncements takes place in the 1947 masterwork, Dialectic of Enlightenment. The book is Adorno’s collaboration with Max Horkheimer, a fellow traveler who somehow managed to maintain an actual sense of humor during a repeatedly morbid process of social research and discovery. “Amusement under late-capitalism is the prolongation of work.” It’s a sick joke; and it cuts like a double-edged knife. Amusement and leisure, in our time, have officially become extensions of labor. (Consider the life of a film critic.) Many of our so-called tastes, our experiences, and our ways of living no longer really belong to us individually—or to our “lifestyle.” The Culture Industry has tricked us into thinking that societal reification and petrifaction is in fact “freedom of choice.” Perfection, by one definition, is freedom from error, i.e., error-free work. The artist, toiling away in the factory of human expression and beauty, makes what? “New work.” There’s something somewhat stultifying about the phrase (and Karl Marx has something to do with it).
The objects in the show reflect familiar items from a shared quotidian reality—but are, of course, no longer the same as the things they reference. They have been re-worked and re-placed back into the world, which to some degree must be seen as a subversive act—a sub-version, an alternate reality. It’s the space between worlds where the power lies.
A bizarre monument to Adorno stands in a public square in Frankfurt, Germany. (Check out the hi-res image on his Wikipedia page—be sure to open it up large.) It’s a replica of his desk with a chair, a table lamp, and a few scattered pages of an apparent work-in-progress that is now—in a moment of reverse poetic justice—mummified (ironically, a deadly word in his vocabulary). A large glass cube protects the furniture making it look like a surreal misplaced museum display. On one corner of the desk a metronome rests on a book—but the device is tilted off-balance at an awkward angle. Although normally used for maintaining strict (perfect) time its functionality has been subtly sabotaged. I have no idea if the dead philosopher ever used a metronome in such a manner; but in his world (he was also a musician) it would seem to make perfect sense. Now, as part of a sculpture, it’s appears to be an inside joke—a deliberate nod to imperfection. And Adorno, if he could see it, might very well laugh.
Chris Chang is senior editor of Film Comment and a contributing editor to Bomb
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $2,500 goal
seconds to go
Mar 20, 2011 - Jun 18, 2011
Pledge $1 or more
A sincere thanks, a "thank you" on the Arts Council Website and if you pledge by April 15, your name in the show catalog. (Let us know if you wish to remain anon).
Pledge $5 or more
A sincere thanks, a "thank you" on the Arts Council Website and if you pledge by April 15, your name in the show catalog. (Let us know if you wish to remain anon). While you won't receive anything tangible, these gifts will help us cover the cost of making other rewards as well as shipping them! Much needed!
Pledge $10 or more
For 10.00 you'll receive an official Creative License made by the unofficial art mayor of Central Jersey, Andrew Wilkinson--see image in our video. Also, a sincere thanks, a "thank you" on the Arts Council Website, and if you pledge by April 15, your name in the show catalog. (Let us know if you wish to remain anon).
Pledge $15 or more
You'll receive a color show catalog! AND the Creative License from Andrew Wilkinson AND a "thank you" on the Arts Council Website and if you pledge by April 15, your name in the show catalog. (Let us know if you wish to remain anon or do not wish to receive gifts).
Pledge $20 or more
A very cool Perfect Citizen Sketchbook! Because we know that the perfect citizen is an artist, we offer these 8.5 x 11" hardcover sketchbooks with silver lettering on the cover. Individually spray-painted covers. Plus the show catalog, Creative License, and above thank yous!
Pledge $40 or more
15 backers Limited (5 of 20 left)
Art meets industrial design mug. This is a parasitic collaboration between Andrew Wilkinson and his sister--meaning she designed the beautiful Pantone mugs and he (possibly without permission) added the wonderfully tasteless floral decal on top. Several colors, but you get a random selection. Totally functional. Plus you get the catalog, license and above thank you's. Avoiding stuff? You can pledge and tell us to omit the gifts.
Pledge $100 or more
1 backer Limited (49 of 50 left)
White on White PERFECT CITIZEN plate For 100.00 we will send you a handmade 8" ceramic plate with raised "PERFECT CITIZEN" lettering. This is a totally functional plate for eating, serving and display, made by the artist/curator, Debbie Reichard! Plus you get the catalog, license and above thank you's. Avoiding stuff? You can pledge and tell us to omit the gifts.
Pledge $100 or more
5 backers Limited (45 of 50 left)
Sexy Satin Black PERFECT CITIZEN plate For 100.00 we will send you a handmade 8" ceramic plate with raised "PERFECT CITIZEN" lettering. This is a totally functional plate for eating, serving and display, made by the artist/curator Debbie Reichard! Plus you get the catalog, license and above thank you's. Avoiding stuff? You can pledge and tell us to omit the gifts.
Pledge $175 or more
2 backers Limited (18 of 20 left)
2 of a Perfect Pair: You get one of each, White on White and Sexy Satin Black PERFECT CITIZEN plate. For 100.00 we will send you a handmade 8" ceramic plate with raised "PERFECT CITIZEN" lettering. This is a totally functional plate for eating, serving and display! Plus you get the catalog, license and above thank you's. Avoiding stuff? You can pledge and tell us to omit the gifts--but I know you want these plates. I'll say it myself, they ROCK.