On Sunday, July 15, 2012, from 2 to 5pm, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum will celebrate the opening of united states, a series of solo exhibitions and artist’s projects that approach both the nature of the United States as a country and “united states” as the alliance of separate forms, entities, or conditions of being.

united states includes solo exhibitions by Pedro Barbeito, Jonathan Brand, Brody Condon, Brad Kahlhamer, Brian Knep, Erik Parker, and Hank Willis Thomas, as well as singular projects by Jane Benson, Alison Crocetta, Celeste Fichter, Erika Harrsch, Nina Katchadourian, Matthew Northridge, Risa Puno, John Stoney, Sui Jianguo, Frances Trombly, Rosemary Williams, and Jenny Yurshansky.

Timed to coincide with the 2012 American election season, these works, diverse in medium and topic, are presented at a time when political and social divisions in the United States are readily apparent, and polarization on many major issues is at a historic high.

Too Mad to Be Scared focuses on Parker’s lyrical maps, which present and document a timely, poignant, and thoroughly critical overview of the often obscure social, economic, and political dynamics of the United States. As he condemns the status quo, Parker condenses his narratives in tight word clusters, engulfed by cartoony looking visceral shapes. Using the US map as template, he spells out the dynamics of the counter-culture, underground movers and shakers, and marginalized communities in order to “finally put them on the map.” Parker comments on our times and what he sees as distortions of everyday reality, through vivid spectacles filled with humor and wit, in the hope that his work will form the basis for a colorful art of resistance. An illustrated monograph, copublished by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and Rizzoli, will accompany the exhibition.

While no one series of exhibitions can comprehensively summarize the complexity of the meanings inherent in the concept of “united states,” this presentation echoes the universal hope that disparate entities united to form a whole are greater, and more profound, than the simple sum of their parts.

united states is the fourth implementation of a new curatorial programming schedule that presents seasons of solo and group exhibitions, all linked by a common theme.


Image: Erik Parker, Preoccupied, 2012. Courtesy of the artist, Paul Kasmin Gallery, and Honor Fraser

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