This show was initially inspired by Carrie Schneider’s most recent photos “Recession” and “Miss America.” Acting once again as her own subject, Schneider set out to explore elements of physical comedy and its greater psychological repercussions. But as an American working in a foreign land (Helsinki), during a global meltdown, not-to-mention being bombarded with headlines about Miss California Carrie Prejean, Schneider could not help feeling personally responsible and embraced the topical nature of work. Taking this cue, Sign of Times hopes to convey the multiplicity of thought in regards to our current situation: from solidarity to parody, from economic to environmental, and of course from the political – both left and right. Kim Beck’sdrawings from the series “Everything Must Go” are the precious versions of their printed and handwritten counterparts currently overwhelming the commercial landscape. As unique hand-drawn pieces, they signal the more personal repercussions of the economic collapse on the employees who make or hang these ever-perky, ever-optimistic signs. These signs announce an amazing, momentous, but also catastrophic, clearance event. Máximo González’smeticulously made collage-murals are entirely constructed of devalued currency. The work conflates the “political machine” with the reality of the “economic machine” that bankrupts developing nations. Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung’s own website announces art+design+activism. In a John Heartfield-meets-Monty Python style, his animated, neon-hued, cut- and-paste montages gleefully skewer all politicians from all sides, including President Obama, Hillary Clinton,Timothy Geithner, Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, President Bush, Valerie Jarrett, Felipe Calderón, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Vladimir Putin, Benazir Bhutto and Kim Jong-Il to name a few. Michael Patterson-Carver’s brightly colored drawings feature placard-carrying protestors from his “We Need Work” series illustrating optimism in activism. In his artist statement, Patterson-Carver says “In the course of my life and activism, I have learned a few things- including the fact that in order to succeed at anything the first step you must take is to BELIEVE. This is the reason that everyone in my demonstration scenes is smiling- they are confident of success.”
During the opening reception, Máximo González’s alternative/informal economy project El Changarrito will be situated outside the front of the gallery. The changarrito is a small push cart, likened to that often seen in Mexico (or the streets of Chicago for that matter) that sell various items from fresh fruit to black market goods. As a means of intervention or critique, González’s Changarrito has been situated in front of major art fairs, museums, and flea markets –most recently the Venice Biennale– using it both as a platform for emerging artists as well as a satire of the art market. This time around, El Changarrito will feature the work of Jacob Goudreault and Robert Reinard, two local emerging artists without gallery representation. 100% of sales from El Changarrito go directly to the artists.