Hard Times Art Show II
Admittance: Always Free
"You are about to see an art show for beggars. Since this art show was conceived with a splendor only a beggar could imagine, and since it had to be so cheap even a beggar could afford it, it is called the 'Hard Times Art Show.'" (Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht, revised)
The “Hard Times Art Show” is the first group exhibit (and first exhibit period) at the Dollar Art House. We decided to call it the “Hard Times Art Show” for obvious reasons. But we don’t merely want to decry the myriad of hardships and oppressions facing the majority of people today. We also aim to valorize the unique subjectivities of the human beings caught in this moment. We reject the notion of “faking it until you make it.” Instead we embrace what we actually are in defiance; as working-class punk and hip-hop artists did in the 1970s, as the Queer pioneers once did, as many 20th century art movements did. We want the work of this show to highlight the unique contribution of each artist. But we also want each artist’s work to be in conversation with the rest of the exhibit. The exhibition space is not a traditional cube, but a series of rooms designed as living spaces. We don’t want the Dollar Art House be a rarefied hermeneutic space. We want to be a space where work is in contact with the rest of the world; as Brecht argued, where art is in contact with the present, both the "good" and “bad new things.” (ACT + CER)
Husni Ashiku is a filmmaker and video artist in Chicago, Illinois. He is an assistant editor and digital imaging technician at The Onion. His video artworks include "Cairo Index Series" and "Mow the Gentlemen."
Jesa Dior Brooks is a musician, writer and printmaker based out of St. Louis, Missouri whose work attempts to place the individual marginalized experiences of antiracist and anticapitalist struggle within an art historical context through expropriation of feminine iconography. Jesa writes, sings, and plays instruments in Thee Mistakes and MEATHORSE. They have written essays appearing in the independent publications TInkypuss Zine and Midwaste Magazine, among others. They studied printmaking at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL.
Jonathan Cornell is an artist and printmaker from Tampa, FL. A graduate student at Washington University, Jon's work focuses on how religion has been subsumed by the American Zeitgeist, utilized by America's elite as a means to control the proletariat. Jon imposes contemporary figures and pop culture references onto religious motifs andiconography, blurring the lines between political rhetoric and religious fervor, perhaps eliminating the difference.
Holly McGraw received their MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. In their interdisciplinary practice, McGraw exposes the performance of gender fluidity as a deviant act. The conceptual impetus of their work is to tease out ways in which comedy and beauty can be used to subvert stigma against the gender fluid community. They utilize drag vernacular to contextualize their own feminine performance as a gesture of power. They create imaginary spaces for the outlaw act of playing within the gender binary. In this play, recognizable systems of gender marketing are used to hyper-characterize the cult of the feminine.
Craig E. Ross, an editor at Red Wedge, is a printmaker and cartoonist currently living in St. Louis, Missouri, who works mainly in woodblock prints. They received a BFA in Printmaking from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Craig has self-published various comics and zines such as MEDITATIONS: A Vision In Woodcuts and the acclaimed STEAL AWAY: The Visions of Nat Turner. Craig also runs the "Red Wedge Comix" blog at Red Wedge.
Anna Maria Tucker is an artist whose work includes painting, installation and performance; confronting stereotypes and trauma. She received her BFA from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale Illinois and is an MFA candidate at the Sam Fox School of Art and Design at Washington University in St Louis.
Adam Turl is an artist and writer in St. Louis, Missouri and an editor at Red Wedge Magazine. Turl was recently awarded a residency at the Cité internationale des Arts in Paris. He writes the "Evicted Art Blog" at Red Wedge. His most recent exhibitions include "Thirteen Baristas" at the Brett Wesley Gallery in Las Vegas, Nevada and "Kick the Cat" at Project 1612 in Peoria, Illinois. [artist statement]
VHS Girl is a nerd from Carbondale, Illinois who enjoys watching, painting, and relentlessly talking about tapes.
Jason Wonnell's work utilizes the viewer’s familiarity with consumer culture to deconstruct the social systems that shape our perceived self-image. Through the language of consumer products and popular media Jason questions social conventions, perceived authority, and the manufacturing of knowledge. Jason's work can be seen at Ruth Baggett Gallery in Paducah, Kentucky and has shown internationally in juried exhibitions such as Sustain, juried by John Drury and Robbie Miller and Critical Forum, juried by Ivy Cooper and Paul Ha. His prints are held in the collections of Print Zero Studios, Roadrunner Press, and The Southern Graphics Council. He has been awarded The 2012 Rickert-Ziebold Trust Award and the Pegram Harrison Award for Studio Art. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design and Printmaking at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and has recently received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University in Bloomington. [artist statement]