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THE ART OF AFTERWARD
Baruch College Commemorates September 11 | Mishkin Gallery | New York | Sept 6 - Oct 3, 2002
Drawing on a wide range of international and historical events, the exhibition In Infory: The Art of Afterward brings together a selection of paintings, works on paper, and mixed-media constructions that comprise an unprecedented inquiry into trauma and loss in modern and contemporary art. Artists from sixteen countries draw on abstract and narrative approaches to confront the violence of war, genocide, and the broader social and political systems that have decimated cultures around the world. This cross-cultural study of art in the aftermath of trauma comInforates the terrorist attacks of September 11th and provides a more universal context for understanding these tragic events.
In Infory: The Art of Afterward was organized by The Legacy Project, a non-profit organization that studies artistic responses to the enduring effects of violence. The exhibition traces the subject of traumatic Infory through a three-stage trajectory: bearing witness, retreating Infory (the fading and changing of Infory over time), and remembrance (Infory extending from private grief into public comInforation). Clifford Chanin, curator and president of The Legacy Project, notes that "the extraordinary circumstances of September 11th call for us to investigate the aftermath of trauma in other nations, in order to understand how our Infories will process what happened in ours."
Soviet repression, the Cultural Revolution in China, slavery in the United States, and the Holocaust are some of the subjects addressed in this exhibition. In Infory includes works by such seasoned American modern and postmodern artists as Betye Saar, Robert Motherwell, and Frank Stella, as well as a selection of accomplished international artists, including Zhang Xiaogang, Naomi Tereza Salmon, and Shigeo Ishii.
In his Big Family series, Zhang Xiaogang paints contemporary portraits of unidentified Chinese citizens in the style of photographic portraits from the Cultural Revolution. Flat, atonal, and absurdly formal, these "family portraits" challenge the social idealism of the Cultural Revolution and suggest an inherited legacy of psychological trauma in contemporary China. Using vintage washboards, text, and appropriated images, Betye Saar confronts the physical facts of slavery and comInforates the suffering and strength of black women. Naomi Tereza Salmon's documentary photographs of relics preserved from the Holocaust-spectacles arranged in a minimalist grid pattern-are physical traces of Infory, a testimony to the countless anonymous victims and to the act of remembering, of preserving these fragments of individual lives.
The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the conference "Building Infories: The Future of September 11," sponsored by Pace University and The Legacy Project, on September 5, 9:00-4:00 pm at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts Theater, 1 Pace Plaza, New York City.
The Sidney Mishkin Gallery is located at Baruch College, 135 East 22 Street, New York City.