Opening reception, Sunday October 9, 6:30–10:30pm
On view through November 19
An unusual open call exhibit which asked America’s artists to vote with their art, and judged the art work they submitted partly on the basis of how well it communicated the reasons they gave for the issues they chose as most important in the coming election and the presidential candidates they favor, opens Sunday in the nation’s capital.
The exhibit, artists united! The revolution begins with us, includes 55 paintings, drawings, assemblages and other works of art by 40 artists, culled by a jury of art experts from the more than 300 works of art submitted by 125 artists submitted from across the country for the jury’s consideration.
According to the exhibit’s organizers, Charles Krause/Reporting Fine Art, a local gallery specializing in contemporary political art, and millennium arts salon, a Washington NGO dedicated to advancing cultural literacy. More than 90 percent of art works submitted were designated as votes for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
About half of the remaining art works were designated as favoring third party candidates or “none of the above,” leaving republican Donald Trump with less than five per cent of the artists’ votes. Each artist was permitted to submit a maximum of three individual art works, each constituting a single vote which the artist could cast for the candidate of his or her choice.
“We made a conscious decision to write the rules so that they were absolutely neutral with regard to the candidates,” said Charles Krause, a former foreign correspondent for the Washington post, CBS and the Newshour at PBS. “We made sure it was a level playing field during the submission period and a free and fair selection” by the jurors afterward, he said.
“Of course, if the jurors weren’t able to tell which candidate a particular work favored, then it wasn’t communicating its message clearly enough, which almost certainly meant it was eliminated,” he said.
“There’s a big difference between political art and pretty pictures, you bet,” he conceded, laying bare the reason political art remains a largely acquired taste, especially in the United States.
Still, more and more American artists seem to be creating political art and, judging by the work to be presented beginning Sunday October 9, they’re learning the difference between using a scalpel and a sledge hammer is often the difference between good and bad political art.
“We have good reason to call artists united ‘the most provocative art exhibit of this election year,’” Krause said. “This is good art about bad things that seem to be getting worse in this country, like race relations, income inequality, political corruption and Mr. Trump’s aversion to the truth.
“Art can be a powerful catalyst for change,” he concluded. “it often doesn’t work if it hits you over the head. Its purpose is to make those who see it, think and to clear away the fog and the deliberate confusion. I hope this exhibit helps.”
For more information visit the gallery’s website at www.charleskrausefineart.com
The exhibition is located at 5th and K NW.