Prototypes 1970s consists of 10 wallpaper designs documenting events that occurred in each year of the decade between 1970-1979. These events, which occurred before I came into political consciousness, are presented as a social history in which diverse terrains of violence and resistance are merged into incongruous landscapes. Each “prototype” is designed as a repeat pattern with the potential to be reproduced as wallpaper, a tactic for re-printing and re-distribution. This allows for the dissemination of documented horrors and undeterred optimism and resistance, turning history into an infinitely reproducible image file that can be printed to re-materialize into changing site-specific configurations. Decoratively subversive and harmoniously jarring, these wallpaper designs are meant to be insistent, balancing on the edge of pleasure, and hard to ignore.
Think “1970s” and some immediate optimistic associations come to mind, such as sexual liberation, the invention of the mobile phone, the birth of the personal computer and punk rock. But this was also the era of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Cambodian genocide, the Kent State massacre, the AIM stand-off, the Lebanese Civil War, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Apartheid in South Africa, the Cultural Revolution in China, Jonestown, the Love Canal disaster, etc. A social history of the decade is conveyed via lesser known terrains of violence and resistance in combination with recognizable landmarks, gestures, and visual encoding that have long entered into collective memory. As with every era, we are faced with the incongruity and paradox of simultaneous but divergent events.
|media: gouache, watercolor, ink, graphite on paper
dimensions: various from 17″ W x 17″ H to 24″ W x 31″ H
|Collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Prototypes 1970s was first shown in a solo exhibition at Anna Kaplan Contemporary, Buffalo, NY.