Gallery 102 Presents Joshua Citarella: Forward-Facing Politics

By Editorial Team on July 8, 2019
Image Credit: Joshua Citarella
Opening Reception: Monday, July 8 from 6pm to 8pm

In a time framed by imminent political, climatic, and cultural disaster, what space exists to envision a better world? In Joshua Citarella: Forward-Facing Politics, this question looms as large as the works themselves. Chromogenic color prints offer different variations of unfolding dystopias. An apartment-renter, sitting aloof, surrounds himself with dried food and survivalist materials. Beyond his home, Uber helicopters deliver goods to high-rise apartments amidst a flooded city. Automated servants attend to residents, and resources are imported to and distributed from a man-made island.

The fashionings of these technological homes may be digitally composed by Citarella, but the compiled scenes closely adhere to the world envisioned by the online communities that he investigates. In September of 2018, Citarella published Politigram and the Post-Left, a book which details over two years of his research on the content produced on Politigram – politically radicalized Instagram – and other online spaces. The vast majority of individuals orchestrating these accounts are kids predominantly between the ages of 12-17 who were born on the other side of history where neoliberalism remains as their dominant economic and cultural force. As material conditions decline and Millennials and Zoomers (those part of Generation Z) continually become downwardly mobile, these users question the efficacy of mainstream political doctrines. The political center moves to the periphery and radicalization moves into their collective consciousness. As a result, hundreds of political subcultures proliferate. Although the majority of these users are teenage provocateurs – with most comment threads and posts wrought with juvenile antics and explicit hyperboles – the memes and content produced points to the anxieties that we all confront to some extent today. Being born into an era of social, financial, and environmental collapse prompts these teens to desire individual security and necessitate new political organizing. It is true that revisionist and right-wing ideas permeate these spaces that accelerate bigoted and racist beliefs, but Citarella and other users on the left do not hold onto reactionary thinking; progressive ideologies manifest just as easily. By envisioning the dystopias professed by left-politigram users, real disaster can be averted later.


Joshua Citarella is an artist currently based out of New York City. Investigating digital spaces in an era of post-conceptual, post-internet art, his interdisciplinary work investigates the effect social media has on cultural production. Citarella has independently published Untitled (Politigram & the Post-left) and has written essays for New Models, Artsy and others. His work has also been reviewed in several major publications including Art in America, Artforum, Artspace, The New Yorker, the Huffington Post, and he has spoken at a Rhizome panel in New York as well as the Carroll/ Fletcher gallery in London. His work has been exhibited internationally— including at Museum of the Image (MOTI) in the Netherlands, The New Museum in New York City and Chelsea College of the Arts in London. Upcoming group exhibitions of his work will be shown at Avalanche in London and Light Factory in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Gallery Hours

  • Monday through Friday: 9am to 5pm

Gallery 102 is located at 801 22nd St. NW.