Visual Arts Program
 

Saturday, November 15, 2003 — Saturday, December 20, 2003

PARALLAX VIEWS

Presented at:
Hallwalls

PARALLAX VIEWS
Ant Farm & T.R. UTHCO
Wayne Gonzales
Eric M. Jensen

On the 40th anniversary of the JFK assassination, Parallax Views will not provide a visual omnibus of all JFK assassination-related artworks produced over the past forty years. Rather, the exhibition will feature three sets of work that reflect and punctuate specific viewpoints that have arisen around the subject over the course of many years.

The earliest work in the show is Ant Farm and T.R. Uthco’s seminal video piece The Eternal Frame (1975), in which the San Francisco-based collective recreates the infamous motorcade, interspersing their "new" footage with speeches by the actor portraying Kennedy, other actors’ commentaries on the making of the film, spectator reaction in Dealey Plaza during the recreation, and audience reaction following the work’s initial screening. The Eternal Frame combines the recollection and "documentation" of history with a skepticism indicative of its era.

Almost thirty years after it was produced, The Eternal Frame remains impressive work of early American video art—collapsing parody, mimicry, documentary pov, cathartic performance art, and gauge of audience emotions into a single, curious work of art that nonetheless denies singular interpretation. At times, the attempted replication of the Zapruder film (shot on location at Dealey Plaza), while not exact, is close enough to remain harrowing. Then, quickly enough, we see Jackie-in-drag preparing for the shoot or staged images against obviously false backdrops. The slippage between "real" and clearly-manufactured imagery is non-stop and alludes to the inability to fix any definitive perspective to the event—particularly true in 1975, imbued with post-Watergate cynicism and no less true today.

The paintings of NY-based artist Wayne Gonzalez, all produced during the last few years, investigate the iconographic images surrounding the Kennedy assassination. Using what has long been familiar assassination imagery (Oswald, Ruby, the single bullet trajectory, the fatal head shot from the Zapruder film) Gonzales abstracts them one step further in order to emphasize their prevailing potency as iconography. Among other things (including a consideration of photography, painting, and the dissemination of history) Gonzales’ paintings reiterate how effectively these specific historical images have inhabited their own realms of the pop culture mainstream.

In a sense, Gonzales’ paintings reiterate how effectively an image can surpass the history it represents and create a sustainable and enduring celebrity. President Kennedy is largely absent from Gonzales’ works on this subject, except as part of painted diagrams or in the pixilated version of frame 313 of the Zapruder film, where the spray of blood and brain matter from the fatal head shot dissolves into an abstracted image of hypnotic beauty. Instead, Oswald and Ruby loom large in this selection from Gonzales’ assassination series and emphasize how minor figures, through the force of history and infamy, become major icons.

Buffalo artist Eric M. Jensen—who produced an assassination installation called Secret Museum at Hallwalls in 1989—creates a new work specifically for Parallax Views. Jensen’s installation L.H.O. will include photography, sculpture, video and paintings, all within a set piece designed to demonstrate a compulsive obsession with the subject of the assassination, and particularly with alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Through multiple images and depictions of Oswald, Jensen’s Travis Bickle-like fixation will blur the line (if there is one) between the hunger for truth and an identification, or even empathy, for the suspect at the heart of the question.

Parallax Views in no way proposes any particular theory regarding the assassination of John F. Kennedy and offers no truths other than the true lies art may concoct for us.

Images, top to bottom

Images 1-4:
Ant Farm & T.R. Uthco
The Eternal Frame, 1975, video still

Images 5-7:
Wayne Gonzales
Untitled, 2002
acrylic on canvas, 50 x 47 in.
Courtesy the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Wayne Gonzales
Untitled, 2002
acrylic on canvas, 50 x 47 in.
Courtesy the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

ZF313, 2000
acrylic on canvas 60x60 in.
Courtesy Lauren Wittels

Images 8-9:
Eric M. Jensen
L.H.O. (detail), 2003

 
 
 
 


Some publications related to this event:
October and November, 2003. - 2003

 
 
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