School of Art, Media, and Technology

MFA Alum American Artist presents solo exhibition | I’m Blue (If I Was █████ I Would Die) | March 1-April 13, 2019

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Friday, March 1, 6-9 PM: opening reception

Tuesday, March 5, 7-9 PM: American Artist and Terence Trouillot will be in conversation at the Gallery as part of NADA New York Gallery Open
Koenig & Clinton is pleased to announce the opening of American Artist’s first solo exhibition with the Gallery. To site a framework for critical reconsideration, Artist’s installation, I’m Blue If I Was █████ I Would Die, reconfigures the exhibition space into an imaginary seminar room for law enforcement personnel.
Upon entering, visitors encounter what initially resembles a classroom with desks, black board, and an instructional video. In a nod towards the Blue Lives Matter countermovement that has developed in response to Black Lives Matter, Artist has sculpturally reconfigured the first two elements. Fortified school desks barricade the video screen, while blue police fabric prevents those sitting in desks from seeing the film. The black board outfitted with the same familiar blue cloth, only allow those reading from them to speculate on the prominence of blue. Onscreen, in place of an instructional video, visitors instead find a speaking digital character. Fabricated by Artist, the character’s speech interweaves imagined and quoted statements taken from two characters, one fictional, one real.
The first character is DC Comics, Dr. Manhattan. Originally an Atomic-era research physicist, Dr. Osterman is renamed Dr. Manhattan after a terrible accident transfigures him into a cobalt-colored superhuman that is swiftly recuperated by the U.S. military. As fans of the Watchmen series will recall, little time passes before Dr. Manhattan grows disillusioned with the reductive application of his superpowers and in epic move of discontent, he abandons humanity and decamps to Mars.
The second character is Christopher Dorner, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer and Naval reserve officer. In 2013, Dorner came to national attention after explicitly threatening revenge on the LAPD by killing LAPD officers. In an 11-page manifesto, Dorner details his disillusionment with the law enforcement system and claims that he was unjustly fired from the LAPD for breaking with the “Blue Line” by reporting the use of racially biased excessive force on his squad.
As the monologue vacillates towards a narrative crescendo, questions swirl around points of incommensurability and in the wake of tragedy, we are asked to distinguish between the mobilization and the weaponization of grief.
In tandem with this exhibition, American Artist will host a discussion at the gallery, and a series of conversations at Recess as part of Assembly. This exhibition was made possible in part by Pioneer Works Tech Residency.

American Artist (b. 1989 Altadena, CA) are an alumni of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. They earned their M.F.A. from Parsons, The New School and their B.F.A. from California Polytechnic University Pomona. Solo exhibitions include Black Gooey Universe, HOUSING, Brooklyn (2018); and My Blue Window, Queens Museum (forthcoming). They have participated in group exhibitions such as: Parallels and Peripheries, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MI (2019); ICONICITY, Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery, Stony Brook University, NY (2019); A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN, Performance Space New York (2018); Geographies of Imagination, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin (2018); I Was Raised on the Internet, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL (2018); Screenscapes, Postmasters, New York, (2018); Lack of Location is My Location, Koenig & Clinton, Brooklyn (2017); and Off Pink, The Kitchen, New York (2015) among others. Artist is currently a resident at Abrons Art Center and Pioneer Works and a 2018-2019 recipient of the Queens Museum Jerome Foundation Fellowship. They are the co-founder of the arts and politics publication unbag and have published writing in The New Inquiry and New Criticals. They live and work in Brooklyn, NY.
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