In this post-truth cultural moment, with a generational mentality of “inaction is the wise action,” Truth or Dare is no longer a party game but an emergency wakeup call. With politics as (un)usual, global climate crisis worsening, inequality and violence overpowering morality and compassion, we’ve hit rock bottom. It is time to change the trajectory, to tell the real truth, to dare ourselves and take action.
As artists, we place ourselves under the spotlight of Truth and Dare, we choose to disrupt and evolve the status quo. At the dusk of 2010s and the dawn of 2020s, we will share our most vulnerable truth and reveal our most daring expression through a two-part exhibition.
Chapter 1: Truth, currently on view in the gallery, runs though December 28. From personal to global perspectives, the exhibiting artists reveals the truth of their art. Chapter 2: Dare opens January 2. In this chapter, Mercury 20 Gallery artists take on the challenge of an unconventional installation consisting of large, more ambitious works.
Participating artists include:
JO ANN BIAGINI
MARY CURTIS RATCLIFF
A few of the works on view…
Nick Dong, Earth (detail, 2019), Mixed-media kinetic sculpture
In contrast with the traditional association with the corporeal and material, Nick Dong’s Earth (2019) illustrates the tethering effect of an ominous force: gravity. As represented by the levitating cubes that rotate endlessly above the angulating “fabric of space and time,” the mirror-mosaic-covered Earth reflects endless cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.
Pantea Karimi, Wall Garden (detail, 2017), wood, paint and screws, 2017 plants include asparagus, buttercup, spelt, viola, chamomile, cinquefoil, and houseleek
Pantea Karimi’s Wall Garden (2017) is an installation of medicinal plants on the wall, composed of various kinds and sizes. The plants’ silhouettes are drafted after the original images in The Herbal manuscript, composed by the 12th-century Andalusian physician al-Ghafiqi. This is one of the most remarkable medieval botanical manuscripts on medicinal plants, their names, their visuals, and their healing properties.
Wall Garden is both the study of medicinal plants and cultural expression. It is symbolic of the relationship between humans and the natural world and the potential that maintaining this relationship may present. Such a fascination with the power of herbal medicine has its roots in medieval medical practices that placed great emphasis on the benefits of nature. By contrast, in our modern world, we mainly rely on chemically manufactured substances. Karimi dares to use black for this piece as a metaphor for the dwindling relationship between humans and nature.
Mark McGowan, Johanna Poethig and Peter Richards, What Goes Around Comes Around (detail, 2019), 1927 Maytag washing machine, video and clothes.
In the collaborative work What Goes Around Comes Around (2019) by Mark McGowan, Johanna Poethig and Peter Richards, inspired by the cycles of nature and human nature, this enigmatic installation includes an amalgamation of unlikely components: a 1927 Maytag washing machine, video and clothes hung out to dry, to be deciphered in the context of the present world we live in.
In Charlie Milgrim’s installation, she considers two objects she saw in a junk store and said out loud “Nice Jugs!” Now the title of her work, Nice Jugs (1992/2019), this slang phrase is one she recalled hearing often as she walked around New York City as a young woman.
Elizabeth Sher, Kunst Macht Frei (Art Makes Free) (detail, 2019), printed ink on paper and wall lettering.
In Elizabeth Sher’s Kunst Macht Frei (Art Makes Free) (2019) she dares herself to share very personal family correspondence as well as overcome her fearful response to any Nazi symbol. She challenges naysayers of the Holocaust and anyone to ignore the current anti-semitism of the far right.