Who? The People?

“We the People”  is an exhibition currently on view at the Robert Rauchenberg Foundation Project Space in New York City (455 West 19th Street), based on Norman Rockwell’s famous Four Freedoms. It is a “diorama of the American populace using strategically chosen examples of figurative painting, sculpture, and photography,” say its organizers, Alison Gingeras and Jonathan Horowitz.

Left: Norman Rockwell, Four Freedoms-Freedom from Want, 1943. Right, Danny McDonald, Restricted Access to Medical Care (The Mummies), 2007

Works by Romare Bearden, George Segal, Margaret Bourke-White, Alice Neel, Duane Hanson, Alex Katz, and Robert Rauschenberg are shown “in cacophonous dialogue” with art by a younger generation, including Tina Barney, Fred Wilson, Elizabeth Peyton, Barkley L. Hendricks, Nicole Eisenman, and Danny McDonald. Art made for the show by artists Nate Lowman, Julio Cesar Morales, Richard Phillips, and Swoon are also on view.

Tom Otterness, Immigrant Family, 2007 Courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York

Each artwork suggests a” sociological typology, an electoral demographic, or an actual person that makes up our famous American melting pot.”  Inspired by the album cover for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, artworks are “installed in a shoulder-to-shoulder exchange. This hypothetical portrait of America not only provides numerous possible commentaries on the issue of identity, but also questions the very nature of political art itself, as artists and artworks will be included that are not traditionally associated with political discourse.”

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation holds a Project Space on 19th Street in New York City’s Chelsea district. The RRF is a private foundation that fosters  the legacy of the artist, and pursues major initiatives and support for fearless, innovative, and multidisciplinary artistic endeavors to show how “art can change the world.”

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