united states is a semester of solo exhibitions and artist’s projects that approach both the nature of the United States as a country and “united states” as the notion of uniting separate forms, entities, or conditions of being. Timed to coincide with the 2012 American election season, united states is presented at a time when political and social divisions in this country are readily apparent, and polarization on many major issues is at an historical high. The United States is the oldest surviving federation and one of the most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations on earth; the idea of reconciling multiple points of view and belief systems is intrinsic to the notion of what it means to be American. The word “state” also connotes a condition of mind or temperament, and the present state in which we find ourselves is clearly one of uncertainty and unease, as reflected in much of the work included in this series of exhibitions.
Subjects that are touched upon, among others, include history (and forgetfulness), unifying texts and phrases, war, political division, race, identity, the economy, immigration, competition vs. cooperation, mythology, the social contract, and consumerism. No selection of art can summarize the complexity of the meanings inherent in the concept of “united states,” however the goal is not to provide closure, but rather to echo the belief that disparate entities united to form a whole are hopefully greater (and more profound) than the simple sum of parts.
united states includes solo exhibitions by Pedro Barbeito, Jonathan Brand, Brody Condon, Brad Kahlhamer, Brian Knep, Erik Parker, and Hank Willis Thomas, as well as singular projects by Jane Benson, Alison Crocetta, Celeste Fichter, Erika Harrsch, Nina Katchadourian, Matthew Northridge, Risa Puno, John Stoney, Sui Jianguo, Frances Trombly, Rosemary Williams, and Jenny Yurshansky.
united states has been organized by Alyson Baker, executive director, Richard Klein, exhibitions director, and Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator, with the assistance of Tracy Moore, education director, and Kelly Taxter, curatorial consultant.