Out of the Fray
This special exhibition became a fully virtual project due to the pandemic's necessarily restrictive effects inaugurated by Brown University, as elsewhere. I am deeply grateful for the professional participation and significant interest of key people from its academic community, the Art Committee for the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. In their inimitable ways they enabled this project to materialize into robust virtual life.
I particularly acknowledge the myriad contributions of the Institute's associate director, Steven B. Bloomfield; art committee co-chair, Professor Jo-Anne Hart; Sarah Baldwin, writer and host of Watson's Trending Globally podcast; and John Mazza, Watson's web and multimedia production manager.
The work of diverse contemporary artists, both emerging and established, is showcased in this virtual exhibition. While individual practice concentrates on photography, drawing, performance, sculpture or textile, each artist has notably adopted the American flag as a powerful, vexed symbol of critique. Each calls for a collective overcoming, a desire to move onward and upward, Out of the Fray. At this pivotal pre-national election period, timing essential to the launch of the exhibition, I endorse that intention and momentum. Indeed, the curatorial motivation to advance out of the fray seeded this project from its inception.
The inspiring exhibiting artists have been stalwart collaborators in this virtual presentation. They live and work across the U.S., from Los Angeles to New York, St. Louis, Missouri to Burlington, Vermont. They are Janie Cohen of Burlington; David Cole, Hudson, New York; Liz Collins, New York, New York; Tasha Dougé, Bronx, New York; Elizabeth Duffy, Providence; Gary Graham, Franklin, New York; Barbara Kruger, Los Angeles and New York, New York; Vanessa Leroy, Boston; Jessica Deane Rosner, Providence; Edwin Schlossberg, New York, New York; Adrienne Sloane, Watertown, Massachusetts; and WORK/PLAY (Danielle and Kevin McCoy), St. Louis.
For permissions, including allowing a special "progenitor" section featuring selected images by the late Robert Frank, by Jasper Johns, and by Faith Ringgold, I offer special thanks for the generous cooperation of Jennifer Belt, permissions director, Art Resource Inc., New York; Hayley Blomquist, licensing executive, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Deanna Crane, registration assistant, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Andrea Frank Foundation, New York; Meridith Gray, director of registration and collections, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Julia Lukacher, director of communications, David Zwirner, New York; Lauren Panzo, vice president, PACE Gallery; Claire de Dobay Rifelj, associate director, Sprüth Magers Gallery, Los Angeles, and Vincent Wilcke, rights and reproductions coordinator, PACE Gallery.
For providing various insights along the way, I am grateful to Uli Brahmst, Karen Conway, Stephen Vincent Kobasa, and Dr. Karen DiMartino Mensel.
Judith Tolnick Champa, Curator