Art in Review: 'The Presidency'
October 22, 2004
By Ken Johnson
475 10th Avenue, at 36th Street
Through Nov. 21
''The Presidency,'' a selection of works by 41 left-leaning artists, could
make you decide that artists should keep their art and their politics separate.
It looks like a student show and ranges from mildly amusing to irritatingly
predictable. Almost nothing in it will make you think in any deep or unexpected
way about its theme.
One piece that does have some poetic resonance is an audio work by 31 Down
Radio Theater, in which a voice that sounds a little like President Bush's
sadly and humbly intones a litany of apologies for things he has done,
from running for president to invading Iraq. It is surprisingly moving.
Arbuzo Virtmanis's large reconstruction in corrugated cardboard of the
president's bedroom on Air Force One is one of the few visually interesting
works. And an animated video cartoon by Packard Jennings, in which President
Bush and members of his cabinet say things they would presumably say if
they were completely honest, has a fine deadpan humor.
Among the many annoying works are a picture of the White House painted
in feces by Francis Michael Palazzolo; straitjackets made of American flags
by Lisa Charde; Liselot van der Heijden's video of a State of the Union
Address in which all the president's words except America have been edited
out; and, by the Guerilla Girls on Tour, a poster favoring the election
of a female president.