In a world gripped by climate change and haunted by biological and social viruses that are decimating populations and tearing apart societies, Can you hear the fault lines breathing? traces the political fault lines that have put the ideals and workings of democracy at risk. The artists participating in the 2021 Platform section seek new modalities of thought to account for the expanding divisiveness animating concepts of race, nationality, and cultural identity that not only threaten individual societies but the future of humanity at large.
Featuring a range of large-scale paintings and installations, the artworks in this section metabolize and lean into these fissures as a way to incite strategies of overcoming. They propose modes of address grounded in personal and cultural histories that point toward the necessity for an ecology of care that includes the self, one another, and the planet we call home. Collectively, they encourage us to listen and learn so that we can craft a better future built on historical awareness and empathy.
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery (New York) presents Circle (1973) by Benny Andrews, a haunting, monumental painting confronting white myths about Black Americans, in particular men, that have perpetuated racial injustice in the United States. Circle is the third of six works conceived in view of the American Bicentennial in 1976. Afraid that national celebrations would omit voices from the Black community, Andrew’s created his “Bicentennial Series” to counter the heroic narrative of white exceptionalism with the trauma of lived experience that is as true today as it was in 1973.