Twenty Twenty is an upcoming exhibition of works on paper rolled out sequentially over the course of five months that presents the work of seven artists whose work is based on photographic imagery. This exhibition was conceived of in 2019 to document and respond to the 2020 election season and was originally scheduled to open in June 2020. With The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum’s temporary closure from early March to the end of June due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition was pushed to run from October 12, 2020 through March 14, 2021.
2020 has been historic year and the work being created by the artists now reflects their lived experience through a landmark election year, a global pandemic, and a national reckoning with systemic racial injustice and police brutality. The exhibition asks the question can a ‘slow’ museum exhibition actively participate in democracy amidst the cacophony of Tweets and abbreviated news app headlines via a medium that moves no faster that the speed of a human hand pushing a pencil?
Twenty Twenty is not only a year, but also a term that describes meeting a standard of visual acuity. Embedded in its meaning is its opposite: a lack of proper focus and perceptual distortion. As the 2020 presidential election looms, the majority of Americans are bracing for a year of both extreme political posturing and an over-stimulating media environment. Most agree that the stakes of the 2020 election are high, and the issues that are central to the debate will affect the country for a generation and beyond.
With digital media shortening the news cycle to seconds, it would seem an impossibility for the show and reflective media of
drawing to add to the political and social dialogue that the election year will engender. What can the laborious, hand-production of images add to visual culture when digital screen refresh rates are less than a millisecond? The answer lies in intent and the nature of specific media: images on Instagram, the most ubiquitous image-relaying platform, are mostly posted for attention rather than conveying serious information, and the ease and frequency of uploading on the networking service does not promote sustained thoughtfulness. An image created by hand on paper suggests deliberation and perhaps more importantly, responsibility.
Artists participating in the exhibition include Marti Cormand (Brooklyn, NY), Oasa DuVerney (Brooklyn, NY), Judith Eisler
(Vienna, Austria and Warren, CT), Andy Mister (Beacon, NY), William Powhida (Brooklyn, NY), Gil Scullion (Middletown, CT),
and Diana Shpungin (Brooklyn, NY). The artists will be adding works to the exhibition in early December and early February
creating a platform for response throughout the exhibition.
Following key moments in the election cycle, the final installation of the exhibition will reflect the proceeding years’ political and social experiences through the lens of these artists’ lived experiences. The Aldrich has commissioned the seven artists to create the work for this exhibition.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a newspaper, published in two editions, that will bookend the exhibition. Organized by Richard Klein, Exhibitions Director, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.