Sep 22, 04:15 pm
The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project - Chapter #5: John Baldessari in San Antonio. Panel with René Paul Barilleaux, Zoe Crosher, and Shamim M. Momin at McNay Art Museum at 6:30pm
Please join us in celebrating the launch of Chapter #5: John Baldessari with a panel discussion and reception:
Friday, September 26, 2014
Panel with René Paul Barilleaux, Zoe Crosher, and Shamim M. Momin at 6:30pm
Reception until 8:30pm
McNay Art Museum
6000 North New Braunfels
San Antonio, TX 78209
LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) presents the fifth chapter of billboards as part of The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project featuring the work of John Baldessari in San Antonio, TX from September 26th to October 2014. A panel will be held at the McNay Art Museum (6000 North New Braunfels Avenue, San Antonio, TX 78209) at 6:30pm followed by a reception until 8:30pm on Friday, September 26, 2014.
John Baldessari’s chapter of The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project, entitled Love and Work, employs the traditional advertising trope of repetition, as all 10 of the billboards display the same image, scattered throughout the San Antonio, TX area. Using this tactic, the image will engrain in the minds of commuters, drawing connections between the disparate locations of the billboards.
Baldessari’s diptych image conveys the ultimate dichotomy of Manifest Destiny and the American Dream, further clarified in the series title: Love and Work. A large gear mechanism dominates the right half of the composition, depicted in grainy black and white and somewhat blurred, as if in motion. This heavy machinery alludes to the industrialism that was the foundation of American capitalist development, and the physical labor underlying the (often-unattainable) goals of the historical American Dream. The gear similarly implies being a part of a larger machine – that we are each a cog in the wheel, so to speak. The artist juxtaposes the gear with an image of pure, domestic relaxation: a male figure reclines, arms akimbo, on a hammock. The vibrant yellow and purple hues superimposed like a light filter over this underlying black-and-white image suggest a bygone era, and highlight the ultimate goals of our labors: happiness and love. The reclining figure and gear maintain the same angled position, drawing a visual parallel between man and machine, leisure and industriousness – the precarious balancing act that is both America’s ambition and the source of many of its most salient problems.
John Baldessari (b. 1931; National City, CA) is a pioneering Santa Monica, CA-based conceptual artist whose experimentation across a range of media (collage, printmaking, video/film, photography, digital art, painting, and performance) developed into a defining aesthetic that appropriates mass culture and plays with established conventions and physical form to decontextualize, juxtapose, repeat, and create language, text, and found imagery or objects, particularly in relation to the media, art, and film industries. He is known as a key founder of Southern California Conceptualism, as an influential educator of younger artists, and as a legend of postmodern art in the late 20th Century.
The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project is a series of artist-produced billboards and activations that will unfold along the Interstate 10 Freeway from Florida to California through spring 2015. The project was conceived by artist Zoe Crosher and is co-curated by the artist and LAND’s Director and Curator, Shamim M. Momin. Using the concept of Manifest Destiny – America’s territorial expansion across North America – the artists will explore this problematic and layered history.
Using approximately 100 billboards total, 10 artists will create “chapter” groupings along I-10, each a unique interpretive link to the exhibition thematic. The billboards will move through and punctuate the landscape by tracing territorial expansion from east to west, along one of the country’s busiest freeways, concluding in Los Angeles. The billboards will be activated through various events, programs, and social media outlets for dialogue and interaction with local communities.
Participating artists include John Baldessari, Sanford Biggers, Matthew Brannon, Zoe Crosher, Eve Fowler, Shana Lutker, Jeremy Shaw, Daniel R. Small, Bobbi Woods, and Mario Ybarra Jr.
This project is made possible with an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works and with support from Clear Channel Outdoor, San Antonio.