2018 – 2020 Vancouver Biennale Announces Alfredo Jaar: A LOGO FOR AMERICA
Tuesday July 10th, 2018
VANCOUVER, CANADA – The 2018-2020 Vancouver Biennale, titled “re-IMAGE-n,” is pleased to present the Canadian debut of Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar’s A Logo For America (1987/2018), on view at the corner of Robson and Granville streets, through August 26, 2018.
Organized by the Vancouver Biennale’s American curator Jeffrey Uslip, Jaar’s A Logo For America (1987/2018) articulates the Biennale’s commitment to “re-IMAGE-n” (reimagine) a progressive social framework that supports free speech, reconciliation and the rights of First Nations, LGBTQ rights, artistic freedom, gender, racial and sexual equality, ecological awareness, religious freedom, and the ethics of biotechnology.
Jaar’s A Logo For America (1987/2018) is the first in a series of projects Uslip will curate for the Vancouver Biennale, each exploring various cultural, social and political pressures placed on individuals, the environment and aesthetics in our current cultural climate.
In concert with the Biennale’s recently unveiled sculpture Paradise Has Many Gates (2015-2018) by Saudi artist Ajlan Gharem in Vanier Park, Alfredo Jaar’s digital sculpture continues the Biennale’s pursuit to affirm Vancouver as a site for inclusivity and a space for cultural, social and religious freedom.
Situated among international brands and markers of global economy in the heart of Vancouver’s growing commercial centre at Robson and Granville Streets, Jaar’s piece invites the passers-by to question how their (Canadian, American, international, etc.) identities fit within the city, and how Vancouver situates its own identity. A Logo For America (1987/2018) encourages viewers to focus on the qualities that make societies robust: free speech, inclusivity, empathy, and gender, racial and sexuality equality.
Originally screened in New York City in 1987, Alfredo Jaar’s A Logo For America was conceived as an “electric billboard” situated among the numerous other advertising displays in Times Square. At that time, visual information was blaring and Times Square was bustling with activity: passers-by were rushing to and from work, shopping, and hastily en route to their next meeting. Yet, Jaar’s artwork stopped pedestrians in their tracks: images of “AMERICA” suddenly appeared and disappeared, gradually becoming larger and more ominous. Diagrammatic illustrations were deconstructed and superimposed over the larger map of the Americas, and then the words “THIS IS NOT AMERICA” caused the public to come to a complete halt. America’s national identity was profoundly questioned, confronting viewers with the notion that: “THIS IS NOT AMERICA’S FLAG.” Jaar’s poignant and timely critique of America’s self-imposed global patriarchy arrived at the height of Ronald Reagan’s presidency when American capitalism and the AIDS epidemic were rampant and the Iran-Contra Affair signaled national deceit to the world.
At this critical time in our shared global imaginary, the Vancouver Biennale is honoured to exhibit Alfredo Jaar’s profound artwork with a renewed message: in order to tackle the prevailing shared issues of our time, we must “re-IMAGE-n” a celebration of our commonalities and reject isolationism and ethnocentrism.
Photo credit: roaming-the-planet
Alfredo Jaar is an uncompromising and innovative artist, architect, and filmmaker. For over 30 years, Jaar has used photographs, film, installation, and new media to create compelling works that examine complex socio-political issues and the limits and ethics of representation. By using a hybrid form of art-making, Jaar has consistently provoked, questioned, and searched for ways to heighten our consciousness about issues often forgotten or suppressed in the international sphere, while not relinquishing art’s formal and aesthetic power. Over his career, Jaar has explored significant political and social issues including genocide, the displacement of refugees across borders, and the balance of power between developing and industrialized nations.
Jaar’s work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the Biennales of Venice, Italy (1986, 2007, 2009, 2013); São Paulo, Brazil (1987, 1989, 2010); and Documenta, Germany (1987, 2002). Jaar most recently presented a solo exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in England, which included a major new commission, The Garden of Good and Evil (2017). Jaar’s work has been exhibited in numerous institutions including Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts, France; Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst e.V., Germany; and can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles Museum of Art, California; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Tate Modern, England; Centre Georges Pompidou, France; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Spain; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; M+, Hong Kong; and dozens of other institutions worldwide.
Jaar was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1956 and has been based in New York City since 1982
New York-based curator Jeffrey Uslip organizes exhibitions with some of the most innovative, diverse and challenging artists of our time. While serving as Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs / Chief Curator of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Uslip curated solo exhibitions with Hurvin Anderson, Mark Bradford and Lisa Yuskavage. In addition, he curated projects with Jesse Howard, one of America’s seminal self-taught artists from Missouri, a survey with Los Angeles-based artist Joe Goode, and the museum debuts of Laurie Simmons’s series Two Boys and The Love Doll and Katharina Frisch’s Postcards.
At CAM, Uslip also commissioned a monumental painting by Barnaby Furnas titled The Last Flood, curated the first solo museum exhibitions with mid-career artists Arcangelo Sassolino and Mark Flood, and presented the first solo museum exhibitions with emerging artists Wyatt Kahn, Jon Rafman, and Liat Yossifor. In 2016, Uslip curated Kelley Walker: Direct Drive, the artist’s most comprehensive survey in America to date.
From 2010-13, Uslip served as the Curator-at-Large of the Santa Monica Museum of Art where he organized Joyce Pensato: I KILLED KENNY; Michael Queenland: Rudy’s Ramp of Remainders; Agnes Denes: Body Prints, Philosophical Drawings, and Map Projections, 1969–1978; Kianja Strobert: Nothing To Do But Keep Going; Xylor Jane: Sealegs; and Keltie Ferris: Doomsday Boogie Woogie.
Uslip also organized exhibitions for PS1/MoMA; Artists Space; Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; California State University, Los Angeles; and LA><ART, Los Angeles. He is an advanced PhD candidate at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, where he is completing his dissertation titled “Mourning in America: Cady Noland and the Age of Reagan.”
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