This Land/Your Land: An Artistic Look at Polarizing Politics
As a November 6 presidential vote looms, artists continue to talk about the election through a variety of media. No stranger to political explorations through art, Jonathan Horowitz staged his first election related exhibition in 2008, and has reimagined the concept again for his show "Your Land/My Land: Election '12" at New York's New Museum and a handful of other art spaces around the country.
In it, red and blue area rugs separate the gallery space into opposing zones to reflect America's political, and cultural divide. Each space is equipped with TV monitors—one broadcasting Fox News, the other MSNBC. By each party having their own spaces, Horowitz addresses head on, the issues of our two-party system, as well as the disparity in coverage between the right and left leaning media outlets.
As host, the New Museum draws attention to its role as a space for democracy. Since the exhibition has been open, they have also offered voter registration and a place to watch the debates. On election night, President Obama's portrait will be hung high, indicating his position as president, while Romney's will be on the floor. If Obama wins the election the portrait stays put. If he loses to Romney, the latter will be hung, while Obama is subjected to the ground level.
Of "Your Land/My Land"—a reference to the Woody Guthrie song "This Land is My Land"—Horowitz explains, “If race and gender were the defining themes of the ’08 election, economic policy and economic disparity will likely be the defining themes of the 2012 election. To some, museums are decidedly blue—elitist bastions of liberalism—to others, they are lynchpins of a capitalist art market analogous to other capitalist markets that have been collapsing around us.”
Whatever your politics, or who you will vote for come November, this exhibition is a well executed lens through which to view the 2012 Presidential campaign.
Photos courtesy of New Museum and Jesse Untracht-Oakner