The Armory Show announces the 2020 Platform presentations, with
seven large-scale projects that explore how contemporary artists use the genres of satire, caricature, and the grotesque as tools of social critique.
This year’s Platform projects consider how the provocative and potent genres of satire, caricature, and the grotesque have endured through time—and are being taken up by contemporary artists as sharp tools of social critique. At a global moment of heightened political partisanship and corruption, mounting threats to basic human rights, and frequent environmental calamities, artists’ keen observations and sharp wit serve to illuminate the perils of these issues and to encourage civic engagement. Platform installations underscore the need for artists to be able to interpret recent cultural and political events in their work freely and unfettered, argue for art as a catalyst for public discourse, and offer viewpoints that utilize humor, exaggeration, and the outlandish to emphasize the urgency of the issues they highlight, while simultaneously imparting a dose of levity. For centuries, artists have acted as incisive social critics, and there seems to be no better time to call attention to contemporary artists who draw upon these traditions with fresh insight and formal ingenuity.
— Anne Ellegood, Executive Director, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
"Given the current and fraught state of affairs in politics and international relations, and with the presidential election coming up this year, it seemed a perfect moment to focus on this theme."
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (New York, Los Angeles) will present Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg’s
This Is Heaven (2019), a video work by the collaborative duo that explores themes of lust, greed, and
personal evolution and regression.
The 2020 Town Square will feature Edward and Nancy Kienholz’s revered installation The Caddy Court (1986–1987), presented by L.A. Louver (Los Angeles). In The Caddy Court, the artists utilize a 1978 Cadillac complete with an interior cabinet of curiosities that includes taxidermy, historic books, an American flag, and a gavel.
Morán Morán (Los Angeles) will present a new installation of stenciled wall paintings along with several figurative paintings hung on top by British artist Charlie Billingham. In the tradition of William Hogarth and other great British satirists, Billingham’s work reinterprets satirical prints of the late 18th- and early 19th-century through a contemporary lens.
Presented by Maccarone West (Los Angeles), the works SexyTime Rock Variations and Eves’ Mime Ménage (both 2019) by Trulee Hall comprise a multimedia, absurdist installation that explores the uncanny and the ludicrous inherent in heteronormative gender roles.
Queens-based artist Summer Wheat will debut a 16-foot-long painting titled Sand Castles designed specifically for The Armory Show 2020. Presented by Shulamit Nazarian (Los Angeles), Wheat’s mural-like painting critiques the ways in which women’s labor is often unacknowledged or given lesser status, and elevates the quotidian experiences of woman by emphasizing their ability to collaborate and rely upon one another.
Simon Lee Gallery (London, New York, Hong Kong) will present two sculptures by Marnie Weber, Log Lady & Dirt Bunny (2009) and Pig Host sculpture (2009), both of which feature animal-human hybrids that probe the darker side of human behavior.
Night Gallery (Los Angeles) will debut new works from Christine Wang's bold and raucous “Meme Paintings” series. Combining often-appropriated images and overlaying with text, Wang takes up a wide range of subjects—from women’s rage to the inexcusable denial of the realities of climate change—in her
highly satirical and disturbingly funny paintings.